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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 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


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.

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


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.

Berkeley Lab Scientists ID New Driver Behind Arctic Warming


Scientists have identified a mechanism that could turn out to be a big contributor to warming in the Arctic and melting sea ice. They found that open oceans are much less efficient than sea ice when it comes to emitting in the far-infrared region of the spectrum, a previously unknown phenomenon that is likely contributing to the warming of the polar climate.

New Project is the ACME of Addressing Climate Change


Eight Department of Energy national laboratories, including Berkeley Lab, are combining forces with the National Center for Atmospheric Research and other institutions in a project called Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy, or ACME, which is designed to accelerate the development and application of fully coupled, state-of-the-science Earth system models for scientific and energy applications.

Air Quality in San Joaquin Valley Improving: Study Shows Controls to Reduce Nitrogen Oxide Emissions Are Working

Bakersfield pollution thumb

A study led by Berkeley Lab’s Ronald Cohen has shown that nitrogen oxide emission controls are improving the notorious air quality in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Taking the Temperature of Deep Geothermal Reservoirs


A lot can happen to water as it rises to the surface from deep underground. It can mix with groundwater, for example. This makes it difficult for scientists to estimate the temperature of a geothermal reservoir, which is an important step as they decide whether a site merits further exploration as a source of clean,