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Sierra Snowpack Could Drop Significantly By End of Century

A future warmer world will almost certainly feature a decline in fresh water from the Sierra Nevada mountain snowpack. Now a new study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that analyzed the headwater regions of California’s 10 major reservoirs, representing nearly half of the state’s surface storage, found they could see on average a 79 percent drop in peak snowpack water volume by 2100.

Topological Matters: Toward a New Kind of Transistor

An experiment conducted at Berkeley Lab has demonstrated, for the first time, electronic switching in an exotic, ultrathin material that can carry a charge with nearly zero loss at room temperature. Researchers demonstrated this switching when subjecting the material to a low-current electric field.

Berkeley Lab, Oak Ridge National Lab Share 2018 ACM Gordon Bell Prize

A team of computational scientists and engineers from Berkeley Lab, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and NVIDIA has been awarded the ACM Gordon Bell Prize for applying an exascale-class deep learning application to extreme climate data and breaking the exaop (1 billion billion calculations) computing barrier for the first time with a deep learning application.

Climate Simulations Project Wetter, Windier Hurricanes

New supercomputer simulations by climate scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have shown that climate change intensified the amount of rainfall in recent hurricanes such as Katrina, Irma, and Maria by 5 to 10 percent. They further found that if those hurricanes were to occur in a future world that is warmer than present, those storms would have even more rainfall and stronger winds.

Scientists Bring Polymers Into Atomic-Scale Focus

A Berkeley Lab-led research has adapted a powerful electron-based imaging technique to obtain a first-of-its-kind image of atomic-scale structure in a synthetic polymer. The research could ultimately inform polymer fabrication methods and lead to new designs for materials and devices that incorporate polymers.

Improving Climate Models to Account for Plant Behavior Yields ‘Goodish’ News

Climate scientists have not been properly accounting for what plants do at night, and that, it turns out, is a mistake. A new study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that plant nutrient uptake in the absence of photosynthesis affects greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.

Machine Learning to Help Optimize Traffic and Reduce Pollution

Applying artificial intelligence to self-driving cars to smooth traffic, reduce fuel consumption, and improve air quality predictions may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have launched two research projects to do just that.

VIDEO: 5,000 Robots Merge to Map the Universe in 3D

How do you create the largest 3D map of the universe? It’s as easy as teaching 5,000 robots how to “dance.” DESI, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, is an experiment that will target millions of distant galaxies by automatically swiveling fiber-optic positioners (the robots) to point at them and gather their light. In creating this detailed map, scientists hope to learn more about dark energy, which is driving the accelerating expansion of the universe.

How Drought and Other Extremes Impact Water Pollution

One in 10 Americans depends on the Colorado River for bathing and drinking. Last fall’s record-high temperatures reduced Colorado snowpack in winter 2018 to 66 percent of normal, sparking concern over water shortages downstream and leaving water managers fearful of a repeat. Berkeley Lab hydrological science expert Bhavna Arora explains how unseasonably warm weather and drought can affect water quality.

Ancient Pigment Can Boost Energy Efficiency

Egyptian blue, derived from calcium copper silicate, was routinely used on ancient depictions of gods and royalty. Previous studies have shown that when Egyptian blue absorbs visible light, it then emits light in the near-infrared range. Now a team led by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has confirmed the pigment’s fluorescence can be 10 times stronger than previously thought.