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Energy Secretary Honors Berkeley Lab Scientists

Bill Johnston (left) and Bill Collins

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has awarded Berkeley Lab scientists Bill Collins and Greg Bell with DOE Secretarial Honor Awards, which are the department’s highest form of non-monetary employee recognition.

Major New Research Project to Study How Tropical Forests Worldwide Respond to Climate Change

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Tropical forests play major roles in regulating Earth’s climate, but there are large uncertainties over how they’ll respond over the next 100 years as the planet’s climate warms. A multi-institutional project led by Berkeley Lab, called NGEE-Tropics, will combine field research with model development to represent how tropical forests interact with Earth’s climate in much greater ecological detail than ever before.

Computer Sims: In Climatic Tug of War, Carbon Released From Thawing Permafrost Wins Handily

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There will be a lot more carbon released from thawing permafrost than the amount taken in by more Arctic vegetation, according to new computer simulations conducted by Berkeley Lab scientists.

A Better Way of Scrubbing CO2

Manganese-based MOF

Berkeley Lab researchers have discovered a means by which the removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired power plants might one day be done far more efficiently and at far lower costs than today. By appending a diamine molecule to the sponge-like solid materials known as metal-organic-frameworks (MOFs), the researchers were able to more than triple the CO2-scrubbing capacity of the MOFs, while significantly reducing parasitic energy.

A New Level of Earthquake Understanding

Martin Kunz SA fault Feature

Working at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS), researchers studied quartz from the San Andreas Fault at the microscopic scale, the scale at which earthquake-triggering stresses originate. The results could one day lead to a better understanding of earthquake events.

First Direct Observation of Carbon Dioxide’s Increasing Greenhouse Effect at the Earth’s Surface

The scientists used incredibly precise spectroscopic instruments at two sites operated by the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility. This research site is on the North Slope of Alaska near the town of Barrow. They also collected data from a site in Oklahoma. (Credit: Jonathan Gero)

Scientists have observed an increase in carbon dioxide’s greenhouse effect at the Earth’s surface for the first time. The researchers, led by Berkeley Lab scientists, measured atmospheric carbon dioxide’s increasing capacity to absorb thermal radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface over an eleven-year period at two locations in North America. They attributed this upward trend to rising CO2 levels from fossil fuel emissions.

Two Berkeley Lab Scientists Named AAAS Fellows

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Two Berkeley Lab scientists, climate scientist William Collins and chemist Heinz Frei, have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for 2014.

New Research Quantifies Health Benefits of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), which result from the burning of fossil fuels, also reduces the incidence of health problems from particulate matter in these emissions, according to Berkeley Lab researchers and colleagues. They calculated that the economic benefit of reduced health impacts from GHG reduction strategies in the U.S. range between $6 and $14 billion annually in 2020, depending on how the reductions are accomplished.

As Temperatures Rise, Soil Will Relinquish Less Carbon to the Atmosphere Than Currently Predicted

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Today’s climate models probably overestimate the amount of carbon that will be released from soil into the atmosphere as global temperatures rise. The findings are from a new computer model that explores the feedbacks between soil carbon and climate change. It is the first such model to include a realistic representation of microbial interactions.

Lightning Expected to Increase by 50 Percent with Global Warming

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Today’s climate models predict a 50 percent increase in lightning strikes across the United States during this century as a result of warming temperatures associated with climate change.