A Q&A with scientist Michelle Newcomer on looking for unexpected causes of harmful algal blooms. Harmful and nuisance algal blooms are thought to have a number of contributing causal factors, including a build-up of nutrients, unusually high water temperatures, and extreme weather events such as floods and drought. But an understanding of the connectivity between these triggers is missing, as is an ability to predict the onset of the blooms.
This summer, Alaska has experienced record high temperatures and devastating wildfires. If such events become more frequent, how might that impact our northernmost forests? A team of researchers projected that the combination of climate change and increased wildfires will cause the iconic evergreen conifer trees of Alaska to get pushed out in favor of broadleaf deciduous trees, which shed their leaves seasonally.
Agriculture, forestry, and other types of land use account for 23% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, yet at the same time natural land processes absorb the equivalent of almost a third of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry. How long will the Amazon rainforest continue to act as an effective carbon sink?
A new study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that if every building in California sported “cool” roofs by 2050, these roofs would help contribute to protecting urbanites from the consequences of dangerous heatwaves.
Two scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to receive significant funding for research through its Early Career Research Program.
Every year, hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells generates billions of gallons of contaminated water. Scientists at Berkeley Lab and the CO School of Mines believe microbes could be the key to turning this waste into a resource.
An optical sensor developed at Berkeley Lab could speed up the time it takes to evaluate whether buildings are safe to occupy after a major earthquake. After four years of extensive peer-reviewed research and simulative testing at the University of Nevada’s Earthquake Engineering Laboratory, the Discrete Diode Position Sensor (DDPS) will be deployed for the first time this summer in a multi-story building at Berkeley Lab – which sits adjacent to the Hayward Fault, considered one of the most dangerous faults in the United States.
Berkeley Lab recently received federal approval to proceed with preliminary design work for a state-of-the-art building that would revolutionize investigations into how interactions among microbes, water, soil, and plants shape entire ecosystems. Research performed in the building could help address many of today’s energy, water, and food challenges.
Long ago, during the European Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci wrote that we humans “know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot.” Five hundred years and innumerable technological and scientific advances later, his sentiment still holds true. But that could soon change. A new study in Nature Communications details how an improved method for studying microbes in the soil will help scientists understand both fine-grained details and large-scale cycles of the environment.
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.