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Mineral Discovery Made Easier: X-Ray Technique Shines a New Light on Tiny, Rare Crystals

Like a tiny needle in a sprawling hayfield, a single crystal grain measuring just tens of millionths of a meter – found in a borehole sample drilled in Central Siberia – had an unexpected chemical makeup. And a specialized X-ray technique in use at Berkeley Lab confirmed the sample’s uniqueness and paved the way for its formal recognition as a newly discovered mineral: ognitite.

To Pump or Not to Pump: New Tool Will Help Water Managers Make Smarter Decisions

The overpumping of groundwater in California has led to near environmental catastrophe in some areas – land is sinking, seawater is intruding, and groundwater storage capacity has shrunk. But researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory believe machine learning could be part of the solution to restoring groundwater to sustainable levels and quality.

Understanding Microbiomes for Advanced Wastewater Treatment and Reuse Systems

Wastewater is treated by an activated sludge process in municipal wastewater treatment plants and returned to the environment for use. This treatment process has been used for over a century, and today represents the largest application of biotechnology in the world, yet there has been no effort to map the global activated sludge microbiome. A

Berkeley Lab Project to Pinpoint Methane ‘Super Emitters’

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas that traps about 30 times more heat than carbon dioxide, is commonly released from rice fields, dairies, landfills, and oil and gas facilities – all of which are plentiful in California. Now Berkeley Lab has been awarded $6 million by the state to find “super emitters” of methane in an effort to quantify and potentially mitigate methane emissions.

New Statistical Technique Finds La Nina Years More Favorable for Mountain Snowpack Than El Nino Years

When there are multiple factors at play in a situation that is itself changing, such as an El Nino winter in a changing climate, how can scientists figure out what is causing what? Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed an advanced statistical method for quantifying and visualizing changes in environmental systems and easily

Royal Society of London Elects Two Berkeley Lab Scientists

Two Berkeley Lab scientists – climate scientist Inez Fung of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area, and chemist Martin Head-Gordon of the Energy Sciences Area – have been elected to the Royal Society of London, the oldest scientific academic society in continuous existence.

Climate Scientists Partner with San Francisco to be Ready for Future Storms

Berkeley Lab climate experts have partnered with the City and County of San Francisco and Silvestrum Climate Associates to assess how climate change may influence the intensity of atmospheric rivers and associated precipitation, and how those changes may impact San Francisco and its infrastructure.

Nature’s Own Biorefinery

New research from Berkeley Lab shows how an insect common to the Eastern U.S., the long-horned passalid beetle, has a hardy digestive tract with microbes to thank for turning its woody diet into energy, food for its young, and nutrients for forest growth. These insights into how the beetle and its distinct microbiome have co-evolved provide a roadmap for the production of affordable, nature-derived fuels and bioproducts.

Dark Fiber Lays Groundwork for Long-Distance Earthquake Detection and Groundwater Mapping

Researchers at Berkeley Lab have turned parts of a 13,000-mile-long testbed of “dark fiber,” unused fiber-optic cable, owned by the DOE Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) into a highly sensitive seismic activity sensor that could potentially augment the performance of earthquake early warning systems currently being developed in the western United States.

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.