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Earth and Atmospheric Science

Two LLNL physicists honored for international collaboration

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) physicists Hye-Sook Park and George Swadling, along with Anna Grassi of France’s Sorbonne University and former Lawrence Fellow Frederico Fiuza of Portugal’s Técnico Lisboa, received the 2024 Lev D. Landau and Lyman Spitzer Jr. Award for Outstanding Contributions to Plasma Physics. The award is jointly sponsored by the Plasma…

Three selected as Graduate Student Research program recipients

Three graduate students have earned Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Program awards to perform their doctoral dissertation research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The prestigious award helps cover living expenses and travel for 60 students from universities across the nation. Their proposed research projects…

A pattern of temperature change emerges from natural climate fluctuations

When comparing model simulations of Earth’s recent warming to real-world observations, differences can arise from several factors, including model errors in the simulated response to increased greenhouse gases and natural fluctuations within the climate system. Natural climate variability, also called internal variability, can change regional and global atmospheric…

Unexpected source of nutrients fuels growth of toxic algae from Lake Erie

Climate change, such as warming and changes in precipitation patterns, affects the frequency and severity of harmful algal blooms (HABs) globally, including those of toxin-producing cyanobacteria that can contaminate drinking water. These nutrient-induced blooms cause worldwide public and ecosystem health concerns. Since the mid-1990s, Lake Erie, the shallowest and warmest…

Lab study on climate sensitivity earns top notch in list of influential research

The American Geophysical Union is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its journal Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) by showcasing some of the highest-achieving papers that have been published over the past 50 years. A paper by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists is one of the winners. The paper, “Causes of Higher Climate Sensitivity in CMIP6 Models,”…

Pett-Ridge selected as a 2024 Ecological Society of America fellow

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientist and head of the Lab’s Carbon Initiative Jennifer Pett-Ridge has been selected as a fellow of the Ecological Society of America (ESA). ESA designates fellows of the society for certain members who have made outstanding contributions to a wide range of fields served by ESA. Pett-Ridge was selected for her work in soil…

Lab assists west Fresno County in clean-energy future

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) will provide technical assistance to 30 disadvantaged communities in west Fresno County to provide a future in clean-energy projects, including carbon capture and storage. The project is part of the Department of Energy’s Local Energy Action Program (LEAP) that aims to facilitate sustained community-wide economic and…

Understanding soil carbon's sensitivity to increasing global temperatures

Particulate soil carbon may be more vulnerable to microbial decomposition under warmer temperatures associated with climate change. Soil organic matter contains more carbon than plants and the atmosphere combined. Soil is increasingly considered for its potential role in climate mitigation due to its ability to sequester more carbon, but it also is critical to understand…

New technique converts excess renewable energy to natural gas

Four Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have partnered with Los Angeles-based SoCalGas and Munich, Germany-based Electrochaea to develop an electrobioreactor to allow excess renewable electricity from wind and solar sources to be stored in chemical bonds as renewable natural gas. When renewable electricity supply exceeds demand, electric-utility…

Hard as a rock, LLNL to study geologic hydrogen production

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has received $1 million to explore technologies that stimulate hydrogen production from mineral deposits found in the subsurface, including developing our understanding of hydrogen-producing geochemical reactions and how to enhance or control the rate of hydrogen production. The use of hydrogen fuel to offset fossil fuel…

Underneath it all: building a better understanding of carbon use by soil microbes

Microbes are major drivers of carbon and nutrient fluxes in Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems; however, Earth system models used for climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies typically exclude explicit representation of soil microorganisms. A team of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) and…

Using agricultural residues for fuel and chemicals

A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientist is part of a research team shedding new light on how to access the sugars locked up in plant materials in order to convert byproducts into new feedstocks for production of fuels, materials and chemicals. Converting grasses, weeds, wood and other plant residues into sustainable products normally produced using…

New nuclear deflection simulations advance planetary defense against asteroid threats

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have developed a modeling tool for assessing the potential use of a nuclear device to defend the planet against catastrophic asteroid impacts. The research, published today in the Planetary Science Journal, introduces a novel approach to simulating the energy deposition from a nuclear device on an asteroid's…

New analysis outlines national opportunities to remove CO2 at the gigaton scale

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers, along with scientists from more than a dozen institutions, have completed a first-of-its-kind high-resolution assessment of carbon dioxide (CO2) removal (CDR) in the United States. The report, “Roads to Removal: Options for Carbon Dioxide Removal in the United States,” charts a path for the United States to achieve…

National economy continues to reenergize post-pandemic, while pushing toward a new, decarbonized normal

In 2022, Americans used more renewables to generate electricity than in previous years, according to the most recent energy flowcharts and carbon flowcharts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The nation used 3% more energy, emitted an additional 96 million tons of CO2, but decreased the carbon intensity of U.S. electricity generation by 3.6%,…

Study confirms age of oldest fossil human footprints in North America

New research reaffirms that human footprints found in White Sands National Park, New Mexico, date to the Last Glacial Maximum, placing humans in North America thousands of years earlier than once thought. In September 2021, U.S. Geological Survey researchers and an international team of scientists announced that ancient human footprints discovered in White Sands National…

PLS postdocs excel at the 2023 Research Slam

On Thursday, August 24, a dozen LLNL postdocs presented in the annual Postdoctoral Research Slam, answering the question “Why is my research important?” in only three minutes. Each talk was then evaluated by LLNL leadership, awarding first and second place to PLS postdocs Brandon Zimmerman and Aditya Prajapati, respectively. As a bonus, the attending audience voted on…

Lawrence Livermore grabs two spots in DOE’s Energy Earthshot program

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists will lead and co-lead projects in support of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) new Energy Earthshot program. The Energy Earthshots Initiative calls for innovation and collaboration to tackle the toughest topics in energy-related research. In January, DOE announced Office of Science funding for the Energy Earthshot…

LLNL scientists among finalists for new Gordon Bell climate modeling award

A team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and seven other Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories is a finalist for the new Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Gordon Bell Prize for Climate Modeling for running an unprecedented high-resolution global atmosphere model on the world’s first exascale supercomputer. The Gordon Bell submission, led…

LLNL’s prototype telescope now fully operational aboard the International Space Station

When SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on March 16, it delivered several thousand pounds of supplies for the crew as well as new hardware. The hardware included the U.S. Space Force’s Space Test Program Houston 9 (STP-H9) platform, which houses a prototype telescope designed and built by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's…