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Climate Change and Environmental Science

Climate image
Earth scientists study global climate with the help of computational models

At Berkeley Lab, climate scientists, geologists, microbiologists, computer scientists, and engineers tackle some of the planet's most pressing issues.

Climate modeling

Lab scientists are creating a new kind of climate model that integrates cutting-edge climate science, such as the pioneering work on the carbon cycle conducted at Berkeley Lab. The goal is not to predict climate alone but interactions among climate, water, and energy on a global scale. It will be able to incorporate fresh data and generate new scenarios at any point: energy demand and carbon emissions; changes in the composition of the atmosphere and the heat entering and leaving it; impacts on ecosystems and human well-being; and different strategies to mitigate or adapt to change.

Carbon storage

Climate change also provides strong motivation to reduce the amount of CO2 that enters the atmosphere. Lab scientists are tackling the research needs of an innovative technology called carbon dioxide capture and storage, which involves the capture, compression, and transport of CO2 to geologically favorable areas, where it’s injected into porous rock more than one kilometer underground for permanent storage.

Subsurface energy production innovations

In keeping with the need for energy that is affordable, dependable, and environmentally friendly, Berkeley Lab scientists are working with the geothermal, oil, and gas industries to develop innovative methods to increase production from subsurface energy resources.

Environmental remediation

Lab scientists are discovering insights into the biogeochemical cycles (terrestrial, oceanic, and atmospheric) that are critical to the stewardship of water and energy resources. And they are pioneering environmental remediation and water resources management techniques using approaches that range from the molecular to the field scale.

Modeling Earth’s complex processes

Berkeley Lab scientists are also leaders in developing predictive models that reveal complex processes that shape and control the planet, such as how fluid flows underground and how chemicals are transported through geologic media. They have also developed new isotopic techniques for understanding the nature of a broad range of global processes –- from the relatively short-term effects of natural fluid migration in the crust to longer-term global climate variations.