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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.

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.

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.

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.

By Jove! Methane’s Effects on Sunlight Vary by Region

Scientists investigating how human-induced increases in atmospheric methane also increase the amount of solar energy absorbed by that gas in our climate system have discovered that this absorption is 10 times stronger over desert regions such as the Sahara Desert and Arabian Peninsula than elsewhere on Earth, and nearly three times more powerful in the presence of clouds.

Ecosystems Are Getting Greener in the Arctic

Researchers from Berkeley Lab have developed a new benchmark model that estimates changes in the proportion of the Earth’s surface where plant growth will no longer be limited by cold temperatures in the 21st century.

Algorithm Provides Early Warning System for Tracking Groundwater Contamination

Groundwater contamination is increasingly recognized as a widespread environmental problem. The most important course of action often involves long-term monitoring. But what is the most cost-effective way to monitor when the contaminant plumes are large, complex, and long-term, or an unexpected event such as a storm could cause sudden changes in contaminant levels that may be missed by periodic sampling?

Berkeley Lab-Developed Digital Library is a Game-Changer for Environmental Research

By Linda Vu  Having access to environmental data is crucial for everything from planning for our water and energy needs and safeguarding against environmental threats to building resilient infrastructure. Now a digital tool developed by a collaboration of scientists led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) will make it much easier to use high-quality

Scientists Dig Deep to Track Down California’s Ever-Changing Groundwater Supply

Erica Woodburn, a research scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Earth and Environmental Sciences Area, is developing a new modeling technique that employs remote sensing technology to understand the effects of climate change on California’s groundwater supply.

Erica Woodburn first fell in love with hydrogeology as an undergraduate majoring in geology. Today, she is a research scientist in the Lab’s Earth and Environmental Sciences Area.

New Simulations Break Down Potential Impact of a Major Quake by Building Location and Size

With unprecedented resolution, scientists and engineers are simulating precisely how a large-magnitude earthquake along the Hayward Fault would affect different locations and buildings across the San Francisco Bay Area.