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Posts Tagged ‘Earth sciences’

Berkeley Lab-led Project Aims to Produce Liquid Transportation Fuel from Methane

January 15, 2014

How’s this for innovative: A Berkeley Lab-led team hopes to engineer a new enzyme that efficiently converts methane to liquid transportation fuel. “There’s a lot of methane available, and we want to develop a new way to harness it as an energy source for vehicles,” says Christer Jansson, a biochemist who heads the effort.

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New Berkeley Lab Subsurface SFA 2.0 Project Explores Uncharted Environmental Frontier of Subsurface Ecogenomics

October 1, 2013

The key to a better understanding of the carbon cycle, the flow of contaminants, even the sustainable growth of biofuel crops, starts with the ground beneath your feet. A new Berkeley Lab-led project will develop a predictive understanding of how the genomic functions of subsurface microbiomes affect watershed-scale biogeochemical processes.

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Computer Simulations Indicate Calcium Carbonate Has a Dense Liquid Phase

August 22, 2013

Computer simulations conducted at Berkeley Lab could help scientists make sense of a recently observed and puzzling wrinkle in one of nature’s most important chemical processes. It turns out that calcium carbonate—the ubiquitous compound that is a major component of seashells, limestone, concrete, antacids and myriad other substances—may momentarily exist in liquid form as it crystallizes from solution.

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Biological Soil Crust Secrets Uncovered

June 14, 2013

A team of Berkeley Lab researchers has performed molecular level analysis of desert biological soil crusts – living ground cover formed by microbial communities – to reveal how long-dormant cyanobacteria become activated by rainfall then resume dormancy when the precipitation stops.

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New Study: As Climate Changes, Boreal Forests to Shift North and Relinquish More Carbon Than Expected

May 5, 2013

New Berkeley Lab research maps how Earth’s myriad climates—and the ecosystems that depend on them—will move from one area to another as global temperatures rise. The approach foresees big changes for one of the planet’s great carbon sponges. Boreal forests will likely shift north at a steady clip this century. Along the way, the vegetation will relinquish more trapped carbon than most current climate models predict.

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The Science of Clouds—Why They Matter, and Why There May be Fewer of Them

March 13, 2013

Clouds can both cool the planet, by acting as a shield against the sun, and warm the planet, by trapping heat. But why do clouds behave the way they do? And how will a warming planet affect the cloud cover? Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist David Romps has made it his mission to answer these questions.

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A New Way to Study Permafrost Soil, Above and Below Ground

January 3, 2013

A group of researchers that includes scientists from Berkeley Lab have developed a new way to explore the little-known world of permafrost soils, which store almost as much carbon as the rest of the world’s soils and about twice as much as is in the atmosphere. The new approach combines several remote-sensing tools to study the Arctic landscape, above and below ground, in high resolution and over large spatial scales.

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New map shows global reach of Berkeley Lab’s geologic carbon sequestration research

December 20, 2012

At the southern tip of Australia, Berkeley Lab scientists are helping to verify that depleted natural gas reservoirs can be repurposed for use as geologic carbon sequestration sites.
In Mississippi, they’re exploring whether it’s possible to produce electricity from the Earth’s heat using CO2, as well as store some of the CO2 permanently underground.
Many other geologic [...]

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What Kind of Iron is in the Southern Ocean?

December 10, 2012

The Southern Ocean, circling the Earth between Antarctica and the southernmost regions of Africa, South America, and Australia, is notorious for its High Nutrient, Low Chlorophyl zones, areas otherwise rich in nutrients but poor in essential iron. Sea life is less abundant in these regions because the growth of phytoplankton, the marine plants that form [...]

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Medical imaging goes underground: SPECT maps 3-D changes in soil samples, may shed light on bioremediation

December 6, 2012

The same medical imaging technology that doctors use to noninvasively image the heart and brain is now giving scientists a close-up view of the subsurface world. Berkeley Lab scientists are developing a way to use Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography, or SPECT, to map 3-D changes in sediment samples without disturbing them.
Their work could help [...]

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