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Study: Warming Could Slow Upslope Migration of Trees

Scientists expect trees will advance upslope as global temperatures increase, shifting the tree line—the mountain zone where trees become smaller and eventually stop growing—to higher elevations. But new research suggests this may not hold true for two subalpine tree species of western North America.

Scientists Measure Pulse of CO2 Emissions During Spring Thaw in the Arctic

Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory documented a spring pulse in northern Alaska in 2014 that included CO2 emissions equivalent to 46 percent of the net CO2 that is absorbed in the summer months and methane emissions that added 6 percent to summer fluxes. What’s more, recent climate trends may make such emissions more frequent, the scientists conclude.

Glowing Crystals Can Detect, Cleanse Contaminated Drinking Water

Motivated by public hazards associated with contaminated sources of drinking water, a team of scientists has successfully developed and tested tiny, glowing crystals that can detect and trap heavy-metal toxins like mercury and lead.

Study: Carbon-Hungry Plants Impede Growth Rate of Atmospheric CO2 

New findings suggest the rate at which CO2 is accumulating in the atmosphere has plateaued in recent years because Earth’s vegetation is grabbing more carbon from the air than in previous decades.

Berkeley Lab Takes Home Five R&D 100 Awards for Environmental, Battery, and X-ray Technologies

Berkeley Lab-developed tech enabling energy-saving roofs, long-lived batteries, better data from X-ray experiments, safer drinking water, and reduced carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have received 2016 R&D 100 awards.

New Bacteria Groups, and Stunning Diversity, Discovered Underground

One of the most detailed genomic studies of any ecosystem to date has revealed an underground world of stunning microbial diversity, and added dozens of new branches to the tree of life.

Underground Science: Berkeley Lab Digs Deep For Clean Energy Solutions

About a mile beneath the Earth’s surface in an old gold mine, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists have built an observatory to study how rocks crack. The knowledge they gain could ultimately help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate deployment of clean energy technologies.

New Technology Helps Pinpoint Sources of Water Contamination

When the local water management agency closes your favorite beach due to unhealthy water quality, how reliable are the tests they base their decisions on? As it turns out, those tests, as well as the standards behind them, have not been updated in decades. Now scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a highly accurate, DNA-based method to detect and distinguish sources of microbial contamination in water.

Longest Record of Continuous Carbon Flux Data is Now Publicly Available

Around the world—from tundra to tropical forests, and a variety of ecosystems in between—environmental researchers have set up micrometeorological towers to monitor carbon, water, and energy fluxes, which are measurements of how carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor and energy (heat) circulate between the soil, plants and atmosphere. Most of these sites have been continuously collecting

Berkeley Scientists Use Robots to Probe Biological Secrets of the Ocean’s Carbon Cycle

Follow Berkeley scientists on a 10-day research voyage off the California coast as they test robotic floats in studies of the ocean’s biological carbon pump. Robotic measurements at sea are promising sources of data that could be used to better understand climate change. Follow along as a Lab science writer blogs daily about the trip.  Go here