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Chemists ID Catalytic 'Key' for Converting CO2 to Methanol

Results from experiments and computational modeling studies that definitively identify the "active site" of a catalyst commonly used for making methanol from CO2 will guide the design of improved catalysts for transforming this pollutant to useful chemicals.

Cryo-Electron Microscopy Achieves Unprecedented Resolution Using New Computational Methods

Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM)--which enables the visualization of viruses, proteins, and other biological structures at the molecular level--is a critical tool used to advance biochemical knowledge. Now Berkeley Lab researchers have extended cryo-EM's impact further by developing a new computational algorithm instrumental in constructing a 3-D atomic-scale model of bacteriophage P22 for the first time.

New Study Maps Space Dust in 3-D

A new Berkeley Lab-led study provides detailed 3-D views of space dust in the Milky Way, which could help us understand the properties of this dust and how it affects views of distant objects.

Single-Angle Ptychography Allows 3D Imaging of Stressed Materials

Scientists have used a new X-ray diffraction technique called Bragg single-angle ptychography to get a clear picture of how planes of atoms shift and squeeze under stress.

New Feedback System Could Allow Greater Control Over Fusion Plasma

A physicist has created a new system that will let scientists control the energy and rotation of plasma in real time in a doughnut-shaped machine known as a tokamak.

Towards Super-Efficient, Ultra-Thin Silicon Solar Cells

Researchers from Ames Laboratory used supercomputers at NERSC to evaluate a novel approach for creating more energy-efficient ultra-thin crystalline silicon solar cells by optimizing nanophotonic light trapping.

Study IDs Link Between Sugar Signaling and Regulation of Oil Production in Plants

UPTON, NY--Even plants have to live on an energy budget. While they're known for converting solar energy into chemical energy in the form of sugars, plants have sophisticated biochemical mechanisms for regulating how they spend that energy. Making oils costs a lot. By exploring the details of this delicate energy balance, a group of scientists from the U.

High-Energy Electrons Probe Ultrafast Atomic Motion

A new technique synchronized high-energy electrons with an ultrafast laser pulse to probe how vibrational states of atoms change in time.

Rare Earth Recycling

A new energy-efficient separation of rare earth elements could provide a new domestic source of critical materials.

Two-Dimensional MXene Materials Get Their Close-Up

Researchers have long sought electrically conductive materials for economical energy-storage devices. Two-dimensional (2D) ceramics called MXenes are contenders.


Three SLAC Employees Awarded Lab's Highest Honor

At a March 7 ceremony, three employees of the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory were awarded the lab's highest honor ­- the SLAC Director's Award.

Dan Sinars Represents Sandia in First Energy Leadership Class

Dan Sinars, a senior manager in Sandia National Laboratories' pulsed power center, which built and operates the Z facility, is the sole representative from a nuclear weapons lab in a new Department of Energy leadership program that recently visited Sandia.

ORNL, HTS International Corporation to Collaborate on Manufacturing Research

HTS International Corporation and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have signed an agreement to explore potential collaborations in advanced manufacturing research.

Jefferson Lab Director Honored with Energy Secretary Award

Hugh Montgomery, director of the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab), was awarded The Secretary's Distinguished Service Award by the Secretary of Energy earlier this year.

New Projects to Make Geothermal Energy More Economically Attractive

Geothermal energy, a clean, renewable source of energy produced by the heat of the earth, provides about 6 percent of California's total power. That number could be much higher if associated costs were lower. Now scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have launched two California Energy Commission-funded projects aimed at making geothermal energy more cost-effective to deploy and operate.

Southern Research Project Advances Novel CO2 Utilization Strategy

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy has awarded Southern Research nearly $800,000 for a project that targets a more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly method of producing some of the most important chemicals used in manufacturing.

Harker School Wins 2017 SLAC Regional Science Bowl Competition

After losing its first match of the day to the defending champions, The Harker School's team won 10 consecutive rounds to claim victory in the annual SLAC Regional DOE Science Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Francis Alexander Named Deputy Director of Brookhaven Lab's Computational Science Initiative

Alexander brings extensive management and leadership experience in computational science research to the position.

Kalinin, Paranthaman Elected Materials Research Society Fellows

Two researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sergei Kalinin and Mariappan Parans Paranthaman, have been elected fellows of the Materials Research Society.

Two PNNL Researchers Elected to Membership in the National Academy of Engineering

Two scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will become members of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering.


High-Energy Electrons Probe Ultrafast Atomic Motion

A new technique synchronized high-energy electrons with an ultrafast laser pulse to probe how vibrational states of atoms change in time.

Rare Earth Recycling

A new energy-efficient separation of rare earth elements could provide a new domestic source of critical materials.

Modeling the "Flicker" of Gluons in Subatomic Smashups

A new model identifies a high degree of fluctuations in the glue-like particles that bind quarks within protons as essential to explaining proton structure.

Rare Nickel Atom Has "Doubly Magic" Structure

Supercomputing calculations confirm that rare nickel-78 has unusual structure, offering insights into supernovas.

Microbial Activity in the Subsurface Contributes to Greenhouse Gas Fluxes

Natural carbon dioxide production from deep subsurface soils contributes significantly to emissions, even in a semiarid floodplain.

Stretching a Metal Into an Insulator

Straining a thin film controllably allows tuning of the materials' magnetic, electronic, and catalytic properties, essential for new energy and electronic devices.

How Moisture Affects the Way Soil Microbes Breathe

Study models soil-pore features that hold or release carbon dioxide.

ARM Data Is for the Birds

Scientists use LIDAR and radar data to study bird migration patterns, thanks to the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility.

The Future of Coastal Flooding

Better storm surge prediction capabilities could help reduce the impacts of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes.

Estimating Global Energy Use for Water-Related Processes

Scientists find that water-related energy consumption is increasing across the globe, with pronounced differences across regions and sectors.


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Internship Program Helps Foster Development of Future Nuclear Scientists

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Supercomputer Simulations Confirm Observations of 2015 India/Pakistan Heat Waves

Article ID: 666590

Released: 2016-12-15 14:05:08

Source Newsroom: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

  • Credit: NOAA

    Hottest daytime high temperatures in India during the week May 24-30, 2015. NOAA Climate.gov map based on interpolated weather station data provided by the India Meterological Department.

A paper published this week during the American Geophysical Union (AGU) fall meeting in San Francisco points to new evidence of human influence on extreme weather events.

Three researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are among the co-authors on the paper, which is included in “Explaining Extreme Events of 2015 from a Climate Perspective,” a special edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) released December 15 at the AGU meeting.

The paper, “The Deadly Combination of Heat and Humidity in India and Pakistan in Summer 2015,” examined observational and simulated temperature and heat indexes, concluding that the heat waves in the two countries “were exacerbated by anthropogenic climate change.” While these countries typically experience severe heat in the summer, the 2015 heat waves—which occurred in late May/early June in India and in late June/early July in Pakistan—have been linked to the deaths of nearly 2,500 people in India and 2,000 in Pakistan.

“I was deeply moved by television coverage of the human tragedy, particularly parents who lost young children,” said Michael Wehner, a climate researcher at Berkeley Lab and lead author on the paper, who has studied extreme weather events and anthropogenic climate change extensively. This prompted him and collaborators from Berkeley Lab, the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and UC Berkeley to investigate the cause of the 2015 heat waves and determine if the two separate meteorological events were somehow linked.

They used simulations from the Community Atmospheric Model version 5 (CAM5), the atmospheric component of the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Community Earth System Model, performed by Berkeley Lab for the C20C+ Detection and Attribution Project. Current climate model-based products are not optimized for research on the attribution of the human influence on extreme weather in the context of long-term climate change; the C20C+ Detection and Attribution Project fills this gap by providing large ensembles of simulation data from climate models, running at relatively high spatial resolution.

The experimental design described in the BAMS paper used “factual” simulations of the world and compared them to “counterfactual” simulations of the world that might have been had humans not changed the composition of the atmosphere by emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide, explained Dáithí Stone, a research scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division and second author on the BAMS paper.

“It is relatively common to run one or a few simulations of a climate model within a certain set of conditions, with each simulation differing just in the precise weather on the first day of the simulation; this difference in the first day propagates through time, providing different realizations of what the weather ‘could have been,’” Stone said. “The special thing about the simulations used here is that we ran a rather large number of them. This was important for studying a rare event; if it is rare, then you need a large amount of data in order to have it occurring frequently enough that you can understand it.”

The researchers examined both observational and simulated temperature alone as well as the heat index, a measure incorporating both temperature and humidity effects. From a quality-controlled weather station observational dataset, they found the potential for a very large, human-induced increase in the likelihood of the magnitudes of the two heat waves. They then examined the factual and counterfactual simulations to further investigate the presence of a human influence.

“Observations suggested the human influence; simulations confirmed it,” Wehner said.

The research team also found that, despite being close in location and time, the two heat waves were “meteorologically independent.” Even so, Wehner emphasized, “the India/Pakistan paper confirms that the chances of deadly heat waves have been substantially increased by human-induced climate change, and these chances will certainly increase as the planet continues to warm.”

Data from Berkeley Lab’s simulations were also analyzed as part of another study included in the special edition of BAMS released at the AGU meeting. That study, “The Late Onset of the 2015 Wet Season in Nigeria,” which was led by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, explores the role of greenhouse gas emissions in changing the chance of a late wet season, as occurred over Nigeria in 2015.

“The C20C+ D&A Project is continuing to build its collection of climate model data with the intention of supporting research like this around the world,” Stone said.

The C20C+ D&A portal is hosted and supported by Berkeley Lab’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), a DOE Office of Science User Facility, and the simulations for the two papers were run on NERSC’s Hopper supercomputer, while the data analysis was done on NERSC’s Edison and Cori systems. The simulations were conducted as part of a program dedicated to advancing our understanding of climate extremes and enhancing our ability to attribute and project changes in their risk because of anthropogenic climate change. The research was supported by the DOE Office of Science and the National Science Foundation.

"Explaining Extreme Events of 2015 from a Climate Perspective," a special edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, can be accessed here: http://www.ametsoc.org/ams/index.cfm/publications/bulletin-of-the-american-meteorological-society-bams/explaining-extreme-events-from-a-climate-perspective/

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The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) Computing Sciences organization provides the computing and networking resources and expertise critical to advancing the Department of Energy's research missions: developing new energy sources, improving energy efficiency, developing new materials and increasing our understanding of ourselves, our world and our universe.

ESnet, the Energy Sciences Network, provides the high-bandwidth, reliable connections that link scientists at 40 DOE research sites to each other and to experimental facilities and supercomputing centers around the country. The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) powers the discoveries of 6,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities, including those at Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Division (CRD). CRD conducts research and development in mathematical modeling and simulation, algorithm design, data storage, management and analysis, computer system architecture and high-performance software implementation.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world's most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab's scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the DOE's Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States.