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2023 UC San Diego Wildfire Experts Directory

With wildfire season in full swing, experts at UC San Diego are available to discuss wildfires across an array of topics, including climate science, technology, health and policy.

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Wildfires are growing in frequency and intensity. Communities are suffering health events, insurance companies are fleeing highly impacted areas and vulnerable populations are disproportionately affected by these extreme weather events. UC San Diego experts are available to discuss the 2023 wildfire season and related topics including climate science, fire management, wildfire prevention, insurance, economic and public health impacts of wildfires and wildfire smoke, mental health trauma experienced by survivors, electrical grid management, environmental justice in the midst of growing wildfires, and AI-driven wildfire technology and tools. 

Wildfire Programs

Ilkay Altintas | Biography Contact
Chief Data Science Officer, Founder-Director of the WIFIRE Lab at the San Diego Supercomputer Center

Jessica Block Biography | Contact
Associate Director of WIFIRE Lab
Directs hazards research towards practical use in the field

Neal Driscoll | Biography | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedInContact
Director ALERTCalifornia, Geoscientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Falko Kuester | Biography | Contact
ALERTCalifornia co-PI , Professor of Structural Engineering and Computer Science & Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering; Calit2 Professor for Visualization and Virtual Reality at the UC San Diego Qualcomm Institute

Frank Vernon Biography | Contact 
ALERTCalifornia co-PI, Seismologist and Director of the High-Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN)
Developing and maintaining internet-connected cyberinfrastructure in remote areas

Rod Linn |  Biography | Contact
Adjunct Professor at UC San Diego and Senior Scientist at LANL, Associate Director, Fire Science for WIFIRE program
Three-dimensional coupled fire/atmosphere modeling for wildfires and prescribed fires

Raymond A. de Callafon | Biography | Contact
Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Responsible for data conditioning and data assimilation to improve wildfire progress predictions based on real-time measurements and predictions of weather conditions, wind conditions and wildfire perimeter observations

California Climate and Climate Change

Daniel CayanBiography | Contact
Research meteorologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
California climate, climate change connections to wildfire, drought

Rachel Clemesha | Biography | Contact
Project scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Marine layer clouds and California coastal climate, interplay of marine layer clouds and heat waves

Sasha Gershunov | Biography | Contact
Research meteorologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
California climate, precipitation and drought, heat waves, marine layer clouds, atmospheric rivers, Santa Ana winds, extreme weather and climate impacts on wildfire

Kristen Guirguis | Biography | Contact
Project scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Regional and global climate variability and change, including improving predictions of precipitation extremes in California, off-season heat waves and their impact on snowpack and water resources, and heat related health impacts on populations in California.

Julie KalanskyBiography | Twitter | Contact
Climate scientist and operations manager for the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes and California-Nevada Applications Program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
California climate, climate change connections to wildfire, drought, atmospheric rivers

David Pierce | Biography | Contact
Climate scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
El Nino and La Nina forecasting and impacts, attribution of human-caused climate change in Western U.S. snowpack and streamflow, natural climate variability

Marty Ralph | BiographyContact
Research meteorologist and Director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at Scripps
Western weather, atmospheric rivers, California water supply and reservoir management, Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations

Morgan Levy | BiographyContact
Environmental scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and School of Global Policy and Strategy
Hydrology (movement, distribution and management of water), water resources, drought, water cycle causes and consequences of wildfires

Jennifer Burney BiographyContact
Environmental scientist at the School of Global Policy and Strategy
Wildfire smoke impacts to air pollution, human health and air quality
Biography | Contact

Economics and Policy

Judson Boomhower Website | Contact 
Environmental economist, Department of Economics
Wildfire risks and impacts;  the economics and regulatory issues associated with building in high fire hazard areas; the importance of building codes in improving resilience to wildfires; and preventive power shutoffs.

Richard Carson | Website | Contact
Environmental economist, Department of Economics
The economic impacts of natural disasters, including wildfires; and the economic implications of the ties between wildfires and climate change, urban development, electric reliability and evacuation planning.

Tom Corringham | Biography | Twitter | Contact
Climate economist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Understanding the economic impacts of climate change and extreme weather events including wildfires, catastrophic floods, atmospheric rivers, El Niño, and more. 

David Victor | Biography | Contact
Political scientist at the School of Global Policy and Strategy
Impacts wildfire and other extreme events linked to climate change have on public policy, international climate negotiations and financial markets.

Ryan Hanna |  Biography | Contact
UC San Diego Center for Energy Research, assistant research scientist.
Power outages caused by wildfires, prevention of power outages during wildfires, microgrids, grid resilience, energy policy 


Tarik Benmarhnia Biography | Twitter | Contact  
Climate change epidemiologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Wildfire and climate impacts on public health; environmental justice

Jyoti Mishra | Biography | Contact  
Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine, director of the Neural Engineering and Translation Labs at UC San Diego, and associate director of the UC Climate and Mental Health Initiative. Mental health trauma after wildfire, wildfire impacts on cognitive functioning, climate anxiety

Rosana Aguilera Becker | Biography | Contact
Postdoctoral scholar at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Impacts of wildfire and fine-particle pollution on public health


Ingrid Tomac | Biography | Contact
Structural Engineering Professor
Technologies to prevent mudslides after wildfires

Health Care

Jeanne Lee | Biography | Contact
Director, UC San Diego Health Regional Burn Center

Ted Chan | Biography | Contact
Chair of emergency medicine, UC San Diego Health

Jess Mandel Biography | Contact 
Chief, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, UC San Diego Health

Sydney Leibel Biography | Contact 
Assistant professor and pediatric immunologist

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