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EESA at AGU 2018 Berkeley Lab scientists head to washington

This weekend, nearly 25,000 scientists will descend upon Washington, D.C., as the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union gets underway. The Earth and Environmental Sciences Area at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has long played a prominent role in the fall meeting, which for 50 years prior to 2017 was held in San Francisco. As the Moscone Center is being renovated, the meeting will be in Washington D.C. this year, which enables engagement by many DOE sponsors of the research that will be presented.

The experts representing the Climate and Ecosystem Sciences and Energy Geosciences Divisions at Berkeley Lab are proud to join the thousands of scientists that make up the AGU global community in helping raise appreciation for the value and impact of our sciences among world leaders next week in our nation's capital. Indeed, the AGU 2018 meeting comes at a time when many of the issues central to EESA's scientific work have taken center stage in the national conversation.

This year, EESA scientists are involved in over 300 presentations. Thirty-two of EESA’s experts are giving invited presentations. We profile a select few of these invited talks below.

Featured Invited Talk

EESA Research Scientist Christina Patricola

In an invited talk, EESA research scientist Christina Patricola will share her experiences using high-resolution numerical climate models and observations to understand connections between the large-scale climate and extreme climate events, including tropical cyclones, floods, and drought. She will be joined by co-presenters Ping Chang and Ramalingam Saravanan of Texas A&M University for a discussion of how hurricanes respond to warming in the oceans and atmosphere.

Patricola is lead author of a study which recently appeared in Nature, “Anthropogenic Influences on Major Tropical Cyclone Events." Read more in this NPR report.

Featured Invited Talk

EESA Staff Scientist Tim Kneafsey

EESA research scientists work to advance our predictive understanding of interactions and feedbacks across Earth’s compartments, from atmosphere to ecosystems to the deep subsurface. For example, Berkeley Lab leads a DOE-sponsored collaboration of seven other national labs and six universities exploring the potential to improve enhanced geothermal systems technologies.

Scientists from the EGS Collab Project go a mile underground Sanford Lab to study how the process of extracting heat from rocks deep in the Earth’s subsurface can be enhanced to open up access to clean energy.

During AGU 2018, Staff Scientist Tim Kneafsey will describe field experiments the project team conducts nearly a mile below ground at Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota. They are focused on improving the understanding and modeling of rock fractures in these geothermal environments. With better information about how rocks behave in the Earth’s subsurface, EGS technologies stand a better chance of fulfilling their potential to provide enough energy to power 100 million American homes.

Featured Invited Talk

EESA Staff Scientist Yves Guglielmi

Investigations of the Earth's subsurface by researchers at Berkeley Lab have the potential to enrich our understanding of the hazards and risks associated with induced seismicity, a routine part of multiple methods of energy sourcing and environmental practices, including enhanced geothermal energy and wastewater storage.

At AGU, EESA Staff Scientist Yves Guglielmi will talk about how injected fluids will activate or reactivate a fault and create an earthquake. In two invited talks, Guglielmi will describe his research into how high-pressure fluids affect strain and pressure within a geological fault in addition to the speed at which fault slip occurs, which is the sole focus of the standard method used to investigate fault slip: microseismicity.

Featured Invited Talk

Ankur Mahesh studies Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley

Atmospheric rivers are a particularly challenging class of weather event, since there is no single algorithm accepted for their identification. Scientists at Berkeley Lab are training convolutional neural networks, an advanced form of machine learning, to identify these extreme events. Ankur Mahesh, a UC Berkeley undergraduate student working under the mentorship of CESD climate scientist Travis O'Brien, will present an invited talk at AGU describing the model infrastructure he developed for simulating how weather-related variables looked amid atmospheric rivers. Their work is funded by the Cascade SFA project, which works to advance the country's ability to identify and project climate extremes and how they are impacted by environmental factors.

Berkeley Lab scientists are leveraging machine learning to identify atmospheric rivers.

Featured Invited Talk

Susan Hubbard, Berkeley Lab associate director for the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area.
Research scientist Bhavna Arora

Extreme weather events like the Camp Fire or Hurricane Harvey are obvious indications of the hazards of a warming climate. The less catastrophic effects of climate change on ecosystem processes may not be so apparent, but they are detrimental nonetheless. Bhavna Arora and Susan Hubbard have both been invited to give presentations at AGU on the impact of early snowmelt on water and nitrogen exports in a research area along the East River catchment near the Upper Colorado River headwaters. The team’s studies, part of the Watershed Function Scientific Focus Area (SFA) program, are useful for predicting how disturbances to mountainous watersheds – like floods, drought, changing snowpack and earlier snowmelt – impact the downstream delivery of water, nutrients, carbon, and metals.

This is but a sampling of the science our EESA staff will be sharing next week at AGU. To browse AGU activities by topic area and session format visit here.

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