Center for Environmental Science Applications (CESA)

Finding solutions to sustainability challenges by linking ideas, people and resources
How can society prepare for manmade environmental challenges, like climate change, which may be more intense than anything collectively experienced before? An important lesson from the study of natural hazards is that critical field observations can significantly improve the accuracy of model-based forecasts, thus providing life-saving warnings. Through its links to ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE), two units that combine science, engineering, and policy, CESA is ideally positioned to develop new monitoring strategies relevant to natural and anthropogenic dangers.
As part of our Sustainable Technologies portfolio, CESA is currently promoting the design of new methods for monitoring volcanic eruptions through the marrying of low-cost unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), high-temperature materials, wireless communications, and satellite-based remote sensing. Taking advantage of newly-recruited engineering colleagues and close ties with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program (VHP) and industry, a group of SESE faculty is exploring new safer approaches for collecting data from violently erupting volcanoes in harsh environments like the Alaskan Peninsula. The team has submitted proposals to the USGS and the NSF’s Earth Sciences Instrumentation and Facilities Program.

The interdisciplinary, mostly-ASU team, is led by volcanologists Amanda Clarke and Jon Fink, and also includes seismologist Matt Fouch, UAV engineer Sri Saripalli, MEMS specialist Hongyu Yu, structural geologist Ramon Arrowsmith, wireless expert Sayfe Kiaei, environmental engineer Ron Calhoun, and University of Pittsburgh Geology Professor Michael Ramsey. USGS contacts include the Director of the VHP and the Scientists in Charge of the Alaska, Hawaii, and Cascades Volcano Observatories.