Alex Hall, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and director of UCLA’s Center for Climate Science, has been named the interim faculty director of the UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge.
Hall’s appointment, which went into effect March 1, follows the decision of former director and engineering professor Eric Hoek to return to research and teaching after completing a three-year term in the role.
Launched in 2013, the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge is an interdisciplinary university-wide initiative aimed at applying UCLA research, expertise and education to help transform Los Angeles into the world’s most sustainable megacity by 2050 — making it the most livable, equitable, resilient, clean and healthy megacity and an example for the world.
Hall, one of the faculty founders of the initiative, focuses on using global and local climate models and other data sources to study climate variability and to spur science-informed action on climate change. He has developed new techniques that distill global climate change projections down to the regional level, particularly Los Angeles and California, to help researchers and residents better understand and respond to climate change threats to neighborhoods and local ecosystems.
Hall and his team at the Center for Climate Science also work closely with regional stakeholders like water agencies and wildland managers to use that data to develop approaches to sustainability planning and managing natural resources in a dramatically changing climate.
“As interim director, Professor Hall will provide leadership and vision for the initiative; continue to grow partnerships with faculty, researchers, students, and staff across campus; and engage external stakeholders from government, academic, business, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors,” UCLA Vice Chancellor for Research and Creative Activities Roger Wakimoto wrote in a message announcing the appointment.
Wakimoto also thanked Hoek for leading an overhaul of the initiative, expanding its scope to include areas like transportation while highlighting and addressing issues of equity, access and justice that are crucial to urban sustainability efforts.