California’s high-tech workforce encompasses approximately 1.8 million people, which is nearly twice as many as the next ranked state. California also has the highest number of tech business establishments of any state and accounts for more than a quarter of the national tech productivity.
A collaborative group of researchers at Chico State, comprised of students, alumni and working professionals, is studying fluid dynamics in laboratories, measuring the wind from miles away using atmospheric lidars, the optical counterparts to radars.
This research has the potential to influence local agricultural spraying operations, emissions from industrial stacks or mining operations, wildfire suppression, and airport safety operations. For example, lidar can be used to provide direct, precise, real-time location and heading of aerosol plumes. This information can be used to test dispersion models and even warn populations downstream of industrial or mining release sites as well as take low-regret protection actions such as shutting ventilation intakes.
The team has also developed algorithms and licenses software to partners in the commercial sector, as well as the Department of Defense, to deduce the motion of potentially hazardous plumes. The capability has strong potential with broad commercial value.