LLNL’s missions in national security, energy security, and fundamental science require robust, multidisciplinary research and development in atmospheric, Earth, and energy sciences.
Researchers in the Atmospheric, Earth, & Energy Division (AEED) continually innovate to support these missions to make the world safer, the environment cleaner, and our energy resources more sustainable.
Our key areas of research include seismology, geophysics, geomechanics, geochemistry, atmospheric dispersion, climate modeling and model intercomparison, climate change detection and attribution, and the hydrological and carbon cycles. We also improve and sustain advanced experimental and computational capabilities to better understand the complex interactions among energy production, energy utilization, and the environment.
Our scientists support the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS) at LLNL, which specializes in measuring ultralow concentrations of long-lived radioisotopes, the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC), the US Department of Homeland Security’s Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center (IMAAC), as well as programs in energy and environmental security and nonproliferation.
Our mission is to integrate atmospheric, earth, and energy sciences in support of defense and global security. Explore this page to learn about the people, research, and resources that support our mission.
Predicting and assessing the fate and transport of hazardous materials in the environment
Group leader (acting): Brenda Pobanz
Our group is focused on the research and application of particle physics, multi-scale transport and diffusion, nuclear fallout and effects, event reconstruction, and emergency response. Our researchers apply atmospheric flow and transport modeling to national security and public protection to:
Our areas of expertise include atmospheric science, atmospheric transport and dispersion, uncertainty quantification, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense (CBRN) source terms.
Accelerating science for LLNL and the nation since 1988
Group leader: Ted Ognibene
Our scientists support the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS) at LLNL. With our support, CAMS activities have broad-ranging scientific impacts while also contributing to LLNL mission needs. Scientists working at CAMS have:
Atmospheric science for critical national needs
Group leader: Philip Cameron-Smith
Our group brings together expertise in climate model development with systems and data analysis. Our scientists support:
We provide scientific expertise to the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCDMI), which leads international modeling activities that provide a multi-model perspective of the climate system.
To learn about general climate research at LLNL, visit the Climate Program website.
Integrating data and diagnostics into Earth system models
Group leader: Shaocheng Xie
Our group is a recognized leader in basic research into cloud processes, their diagnosis with observations, their parameterization and evaluation in climate models, and their response to climate change. Researchers in our group support major activities, including:
Unique software solutions for subsurface mechanics
Group leader: Joe Morris
Our group develops and employs cutting-edge software to tackle challenging problems that require understanding and exploiting subsurface processes. A common theme in our work is the employment of novel algorithms on the world’s fastest supercomputers in order to deliver high-fidelity three-dimensional predictions that include a wide range of coupled physical effects. Our projects support a wide range of applications from energy to defense with national and worldwide significance. Our recent projects include:
Connecting energy and the environment
Group leader: A.J. Simon
Our group focuses on energy systems research, including efforts in wind energy, the energy–water nexus, and nuclear risk analysis. Our group consists of atmospheric and land surface modelers, nuclear engineers, and experimentalists who tackle a diverse portfolio of energy projects, including wind power forecasting, carbon capture and sequestration, geothermal reservoir management, advanced nuclear fuel cycle analysis, and resource utilization analyses. Our recent projects include efforts to:
Our work leads to collaborations with the following programs:
We also support LLNL’s nuclear forensics program, NARAC, and LLNL’s Global Security division’s energy and nuclear programs.
To learn about general water research at LLNL, visit the Water Research at LLNL website.
Seismological and geophysical expertise for national security
Group leader: Michael Pasyanos
Our group is comprised of over a dozen geophysicists who have expertise in source physics, Earth models, seismic tomography, earthquake location, and microseismicity. Our group’s state-of-the-art research takes advantage of the Lab’s world-class resources, including expertise in managing seismic databases, complex data analysis, and high-performance computing.
In supporting LLNL’s non-proliferation, national security, and energy missions, our researchers have:
Advancements in multiphase flow and reactive transport
Group leader: Joshua White
Our group has a broad range of experimental, computational, and fieldwork expertise related to fluid flow and reactive mass transport phenomena in subsurface and terrestrial environmental systems. We address coupled hydro-chemical-thermal-mechanical phenomena across multiple scales–from the laboratory scale to the field scale–relevant to both natural and engineered applications. We tackle challenges in this field using experimental methods, numerical modeling, and geophysical monitoring techniques. A few of our focus areas include:
In these efforts, we routinely interface with other discipline organizations from across the laboratory and from outside institutions in collaborative research, ultimately supporting multiple energy, environmental, and national security missions at LLNL.
The Atmospheric, Earth, and Energy Division within the Physical and Life Sciences Directorate offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to engage in practical research experience to further their educational goals.
We have an opening for a postdoctoral researcher to perform research in the area of fireball physics and nuclear weapon effects. You will be part of an interdisciplinary team that is reanalyzing the high-speed films of the 210 atmospheric nuclear tests.
We have an opening for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join a multidisciplinary team developing state-of-the-art multiscale atmospheric and Earth system simulation methods for a variety of energy, environmental, and national security applications.
We have an opening for an Analyst to conduct investigations in computational geomechanics, shock physics, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and computational multiphase flow.
Conduct research in radiation damage of materials in support of an ongoing project to study the effects of aging in plutonium.
Our researchers utilize world-class scientific capabilities and modern high-performance computing facilities to support Laboratory programs. Listed below are LLNL’s state-of-the-art capabilities commonly used by our scientists.