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Amir AghaKouchak - UC Irvine. Irvine, CA, US

Amir AghaKouchak Amir AghaKouchak

Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering | UC Irvine

Irvine, CA, UNITED STATES

Amir AghaKouchak studies how climate change and variability influence extreme events (flood/drought/heatwaves) and compound hazards.

Media

Publications:

Documents:

Photos:

Videos:

Anthropogenic Drought and Environmental Change | Amir AghaKouchak | TEDxUCIrvine Increased Nuisance Flooding from Sea Level Rise - Amir Aghakouchak

Audio/Podcasts:

Social

Biography

Amir AghaKouchak is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine. His research focuses on natural hazards and climate extremes and crosses the boundaries between hydrology, climatology, remote sensing. One of his main research areas is studying and understanding the interactions between different types of climatic and non-climatic hazards including compound and cascading events. He has received a number of honors and awards including the American Geophysical Union’s James B. Macelwane Medal and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Huber Research Prize. Amir is currently serving as the Editor-in-Chief of Earth’s Future. He has served as the principal investigator of several interdisciplinary research grants funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Amir has a passion for nature and landscape photography, and he uses his photos for creating educational materials.

Areas of Expertise (8)

Climate Extremes

Climatology

Climate Change

Flood

Drought

Heatwave

Hydrology

Remote Sensing of the Environment

Accomplishments (8)

ASCE Huber Prize (professional)

2020

AGU Fellow (professional)

2019

American Geophysical Union’s Macelwane Medal (professional)

2019

AGU Hydrologic Sciences Early Career Award (professional)

2017

IAHS/STAHY Best Paper Award (professional)

2017 Cheng, L., Aghakouchak, A. Nonstatlonary precipitation intensity-duration-frequency curves for infrastructure design in a changing climate (2014) Scientific Reports, 4, art. no. 7093

Outstanding ASCE Faculty Advisor (professional)

2016

Orange County Engineering Council (OCEC) Distinguished Educator Award (professional)

2016

Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) Award (professional)

2014 National Academy of Engineering (NAE) of the National Academies

Education (3)

University of Stuttgart: PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering 2010

K.N. Toosi University of Technology: MSc, Civil Engineering 2005

Major: Water Resources

K.N. Toosi University of Technology: BSc, Civil Engineering 2001

Major: Water Resources

Media Appearances (7)

Rainfall Totals: 1+ Inch of Rain in Parts of San Diego County Not Enough to Pull From Drought, Expert Says

NBC San Diego  online

2022-03-29

UC Irvine professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering Amir AghaKouchak said while the rainfall was significant, it is not likely enough to pull the region out of drought. "We are towards the end of the rainy season. It is unlikely that we will see several [more] storms like this. So, most likely we will remain below average this year," AghaKouchak said. "The good news is that our reservoirs are not bad... It's better than last year, but we will remain under drought situation this year, at least that's how it looks like."

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Heavy rains in drought-stricken states could be dangerous

Popular Science  online

2021-10-24

Amir AghaKouchak is a professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Earth System Science at University of California, Irvine. This story originally featured on The Conversation. A powerful storm system known as an atmospheric river is heading for northern California and Oregon, a region in the midst of an historic drought.

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Evacuations ordered as a powerful storm heads for California’s wildfire burn scars, raising risk of mudslides – this is what cascading climate disasters look like

The Conversation  online

2021-10-21

Officials issued evacuation orders for people living downhill from several of California’s wildfire burn scars on Oct. 24, 2021, as a powerful storm system known as an atmospheric river began to drench the West Coast.

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Avoiding water bankruptcy in the drought-troubled Southwest: What the US and Iran can learn from each other

The Conversation  online

2021-09-29

The 2021 water year ends on Sept. 30, and it was another hot, dry year in the western U.S., with almost the entire region in drought. Reservoirs vital for farms, communities and hydropower have fallen to dangerous lows.

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Climate Change, Corporate Development Threaten Groundwater Wells In Texas And Across US

Texas Standard  online

2021-06-10

Amir AghaKouchak is an engineering professor at University of California Irvine. He studies the extremes of climate change. “Model projections of the future show that we may see events that you have never experienced, at least in our modern records,” he said.

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How Anthropogenic Drought Plays Out

Eos  online

2021-05-26

A recent article published in Reviews of Geophysics focuses on anthropogenic drought, exploring how it can be defined and incorporated into models. Here, the lead author explains the concept of anthropogenic drought and suggest how scientists can contribute to drought analysis, planning and mitigation in the future.

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‘Expect More’: Climate Change Raises Risk of Dam Failures

New York Times  online

2020-05-21

“We should expect more of these down the road,” said Amir AghaKouchak, a professor of civil engineering at the University of California, Irvine. “It’s unfortunate but this is what the trend is going to be.”

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Research Grants (3)

Resilience of Geotechnical Infrastructure under a Changing Climate: Quantitative Assessment for Extreme Events

NSF 

9/2016-8/2019

Monitoring and managing food, energy, and water systems under stress

NSF 

9/2016-8/2021

Weather Augmented Risk Determination System

NSF 

7/2017-1/2018

Articles (7)

Changes in the exposure of California's Levee-Protected Critical Infrastructure to flooding hazard in a warming climate

Environmental Research Letters

2020 Levee systems are an important part of California's water infrastructure, engineered to provide resilience against flooding and reduce flood losses. The growth in California is partly associated with costly infrastructure developments that led to population expansion in the levee protected areas.

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Impacts of ozone and climate change on yields of perennial crops in California

Nature Food

2020 Changes in temperature and air pollution affect agricultural productivity, but most relevant research has focused on major annual crops (for example, wheat, maize, soy and rice). In contrast, relatively little is known about the effects of climate change and air quality on perennial crops such as fruits and nuts, which are important to dietary diversity and nutrition, and represent ~38% of California’s agriculture by economic value.

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Flash droughts present a new challenge for subseasonal-to-seasonal prediction

Nature Climate Change volume

2020 Flash droughts are a recently recognized type of extreme event distinguished by sudden onset and rapid intensification of drought conditions with severe impacts. They unfold on subseasonal-to-seasonal timescales (weeks to months), presenting a new challenge for the surge of interest in improving subseasonal-to-seasonal prediction. Here we discuss existing prediction capability for flash droughts and what is needed to establish their predictability.

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Climate Extremes and Compound Hazards in a Warming World

Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences

2020 Climate extremes threaten human health, economic stability, and the well-being of natural and built environments (e.g., 2003 European heat wave). As the world continues to warm, climate hazards are expected to increase in frequency and intensity. The impacts of extreme events will also be more severe due to the increased exposure (growing population and development) and vulnerability (aging infrastructure) of human settlements.

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How do natural hazards cascade to cause disasters?

Nature

2018 This has been an exceptional year so far for natural disasters. Typhoons in Asia and Hurricane Florence hitting the US east coast have caused extensive damage, flooding and mudslides. In the past two months, Scandinavia, Spain and Portugal, the United Kingdom, North America and South Africa experienced fierce forest blazes.

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Mountain snowpack response to different levels of warming

PNAS

2018 Across the world, the seasonal montane snowpack stores and releases substantial amounts of water annually. As the global temperature is projected to rise, it becomes increasingly important to assess the vulnerability of the mountain snowpack. We therefore turn to the historical record to understand the extent to which snow water equivalent (SWE) and its centroid respond to different levels of warming.

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Compounding effects of sea level rise and fluvial flooding

PNAS

2017 Population and assets in coastal regions are threatened by both oceanic and fluvial flooding hazards. Common flood hazard assessment practices typically focus on one flood driver at a time and ignore potential compounding impacts.

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