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A Simpler Way to Estimate the Feedback Between Permafrost Carbon and Climate


Researchers led by a scientist from Berkeley Lab have developed a simple model of permafrost carbon based on direct observations. Their approach could help climate scientists evaluate how well permafrost dynamics are represented in the Earth system models used to predict climate change.

Most Comprehensive Projections for West Antarctica’s Future Revealed

Retreat in the Amundsen Sea Embayment in 2154 (Credit: Cornford et al., The Cryosphere, 2015)

A new international study is the first to use a high-resolution, large-scale computer model, called Berkeley-ISICLES (BISICLES), to estimate how much ice the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could lose over the next couple of centuries, and how much that could add to sea-level rise. The results paint a clearer picture of West Antarctica’s future than was previously possible.

Gut Microbes Enable Coffee Pest to Withstand Extremely Toxic Concentrations of Caffeine

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Scientists discovered that coffee berry borers worldwide share 14 bacterial species in their digestive tracts that degrade and detoxify caffeine. They also found the most prevalent of these bacteria has a gene that helps break down caffeine. Their research sheds light on the ecology of the destructive bug and could lead to new ways to fight it.

North to Alaska: Researchers Rush to Understand Warming Trend

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A group of scientists from the Atmospheric Measurement Research (ARM) Climate Research Facility won’t be looking for gold or oil this summer as they crisscross Alaska’s North Slope in an airplane. Instead, the ARM Airborne Carbon Measurements V (ARM-ACME V) team—led by Sebastien Biraud from U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory—will run an aerial campaign

Berkeley Lab Scientist Invents New Technique to Understand Cloud Behavior

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With two off-the-shelf digital cameras situated about 1 kilometer apart facing Miami’s Biscayne Bay, Berkeley Lab scientists David Romps and Rusen Oktem are collecting three-dimensional data on cloud behavior that have never been possible to collect before.

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


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


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.