CCSI Mission: Advancing knowledge of the Earth system, describing the consequences of climate change, and evaluating and informing policy responses to climate change.

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Climate science postdoc receives Early Career Ecologist Award

Xiaofeng Xu, a postdoctoral research associate at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Climate Change Science Institute, is one of two winners of the Early Career Ecologist Award from the Ecological Society of America (ESA) Asian Ecology Section. Xu’s research focuses on understanding and quantifying terrestrial ecosystem responses and feedback within the climate system for the purpose of improving computational Earth system models.

The award was established by the ESA to promote the recognition of young ecologists who make substantial contributions to Asian ecological research development.

Figure: Xiaofeng Xu

Xu’s previous research on land–atmosphere exchanges of greenhouse gases, particularly methane and nitrous oxide across North America and China, has significantly enriched the field of Asian ecology and provided fundamental information for the scientific community and decision makers. Recently his research has focused on improvement and application of the Community Land Model to understand microbial biogeochemistry and its contributions to the land–atmosphere interaction with emphasis on the microbial mechanisms in carbon and nitrogen cycling and trace gas fluxes.

Researchers present computational strategy for selecting environmental measurement sites in award-winning paper

In an award-winning paper, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Climate Change Science Institute’s (CCSI’s) Forrest Hoffman, Jitendra Kumar, and Richard Mills, along with William Hargrove of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, present a quantitative methodology that establishes an optimal sampling strategy for collecting environmental data by classifying spatial areas based on their environmental characteristics. This method provides a framework for using sparse field measurements to best represent entire ecoregions and an approach for integrating models and data.

CCSI Scientists Co-author NASA’s Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment Research Plan

Climate science researcher Daniel Hayes of the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, along with Eric Kasischke of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the University of Maryland, co-chaired the science definition team charged with formulating the research plan for the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE). Stan Wullschleger, CCSI scientist and lead principal investigator for the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments–Arctic (NGEE–Arctic), also served on the ABoVE science definition team. ABoVE is a large-scale study of environmental change in the Arctic and boreal region of western North America and its implications for ecological and societal systems.

CCSI Researchers Host Discussion Series on Complexity

Complex systems are difficult to understand, yet complexity is a fundamental characteristic of climate, ecology, biology, and seemingly unrelated fields involving neutrons, transportation technology, and material sciences. In an attempt to bring scientists and engineers from these disciplines together, two Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) investigators, David Weston and Stan Wullschleger, organized a four-part series of Brown Bag discussions at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) on complex systems. Each week a different question was posed to the audience including:

Research in Panama for Real-World Climate Model Data

CCSI Researcher’s Work on Photosynthesis in Jungle Leads to Crowdsourcing Data at Home

Last year Lianhong Gu, an ecosystem scientist, and Anthony Walker, an ecological modeler, both with the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), journeyed to the Parque Natural Metropolitano rainforest reserve in the heart of Panama City. They were on a 2-week scientific expedition. The goal: to measure photosynthesis in various tree species to provide climate models with more accurate input data. 

CCSI Collaborates with USGS to Create Earth Science Data Catalog

Data scientists Ranjeet Devarakonda, Giri Palanisamy, and Biva Shrestha with the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and collaborators with the US Department of the Interior United States Geological Survey (USGS) have jointly developed the USGS Science Data Catalog for earth science data. CCSI worked on the database index, search engine, and user interface for the project, which began last November under an interagency agreement between the two organizations.

CCSI Researcher Co-authors, CDIAC Provides Curated Climate Data for Nature Climate Change Article

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Climate Change Science Institute researcher, Bai Yang, is a co-author of a Nature Climate Change article “Net carbon uptake has increased through warming-induced changes in temperate forest phenology” published on June 1. The paper analyzes seasonal shifts in plant life cycles, known as phenology, in select eastern United States forests using long-term data from ground observations, satellites, and terrestrial biosphere models. Yang and ORNL’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center provided meteorological and ecosystem carbon flux records for sites analyzed in the paper. The paper concludes that earlier springs and later autumns are resulting in increased carbon uptake, a process that may reduce the rate of increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide and slow the rate of global warming.

ORNL DAAC Publishes Daymet Data Set

The ORNL DAAC is pleased to announce the release of Daymet: Daily Surface Weather Data on a 1-km Grid for North America, Version 2. This data set provides Daymet output data as mosaicked gridded estimates of daily weather parameters for North America, including continuous surfaces of day length, precipitation, shortwave radiation, snow water equivalent, maximum air temperature, minimum air temperature, and water vapor pressure. The Daymet data product was derived from selected meteorological station data by interpolation and extrapolation algorithms.

ORNL Researcher Briefs Congress on National Climate Assessment

Thomas Wilbanks, a corporate fellow with the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was one of a dozen experts selected to brief the Senate and the House of Representatives on the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) report on May 7. He answered questions related to urban infrastructure, energy supply and use, the Southeastern region of the United States, and climate adaptation.  

“All in all, everybody involved in putting together the briefings was very pleased that the NCA is being received with so much positive interest,” Wilbanks said.

ORNL Researchers Contribute to Report on Impacts of Climate Change in U.S.

Scientists at the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), including Thomas Wilbanks, Steve Fernandez, Peter Thornton, Virginia Dale, and Benjamin Preston, were among the 240 authors who contributed to the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) report. The report, released on May 6, is an important resource for communicating the science and impacts of climate change in the United States and helps policy makers form decisions on climate change-related issues by providing information on past, present, and future climate trends based on technical reports.









Above: (From left) CCSI contributors to the National Climate Assessment are Benjamin Preston, Thomas Wilbanks, Virginia Dale, Steve Fernandez, and Peter Thornton.

Slide image details

Slide images provided by Jamison Daniel, NCCS.

Slide 1 Image InformationOcean Temperature at 5 meters using POP2. Slide 2 Image InformationTime evolving atmospheric CO2 concentration in the atmosphere as simulated using the NASA GEOS-5 (Global Earth Observing System) model running on Jaguar at ORNL. The higher CO2 concentrations in the northern hemisphere are due to anthropogenic emissions Slide 3 Image InformationAssessing Transient Global Climate Response using the NCAR-CCSM3: Climate Sensitivity and Abrupt Climate Change. Simulations show deglaciation during the Bølling-Allerød, Earth’s most recent period of natural global warming. Slide 4 Image InformationCCSM3 T341 – TMQ (Water Vapor) – 2005 Averages – Pseudo-color plot exploration. Slide 5 Image InformationThe instantaneous Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE) a measure of the atmospheric-terrestrial exchange of carbon as simulated with a version of the CCSM3 model that includes a terrestrial carbon modeling capability. The red colored areas in the snapshot show regions for which there is an enhanced uptake of carbon by the terrestrial ecosystem as the sun rises over the western hemisphere during Boreal summer. The lighter green colored areas show regions where there is a net source of carbon to the atmosphere in part due to vegetation respiration. This simulation was conducted as part of the C-LAMP project.