New study of water-saving plants advances efforts to develop drought-resistant crops

As part of an effort to develop drought-resistant food and bioenergy crops, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have uncovered the genetic and metabolic mechanisms that allow certain plants to conserve water and thrive in semi-arid climates.

Melissa Allen: The atmosphere’s the limit

Melissa Allen, an aspiring scientist in the Climate Change Science and the Urban Dynamics Institutes, is guided by her curiosity and is inspired to pursue what she loves – music, flying and climate science. And she credits her family and many mentors who have helped her along the way.

Peter Thornton: Outdoorsman, field researcher, supercomputer modeler!

The summertime temperatures in the North Slope and Seward Peninsula of Alaska rarely reach higher than 50 degrees F and the perpetually dark winters fall below minus 20 F. It is a brutal environment for any researcher studying the Arctic ecosystem, much less a supercomputer modeler who should be inside writing simulation code, not probing permafrost patterns on the tundra. Yet that is exactly what Peter Thornton does.

Erickson Honored at CCSI Workshop

Dr. David J. Erickson III, a highly influential senior staff member in the Computational Earth Sciences Group and a Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) member, passed away last November. In honor of his life and scientific influence the CCSI—located at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory— held an Earth System Modeling (ESM) workshop this year consisting of instructive lectures and memorial tributes from Erickson’s friends and colleagues.

Mapping potential carbon emissions from thawing permafrost

A new global mapping project has for the first time assessed thermokarst landscapes in the northern circumpolar region, concluding that as much as half of the carbon below-ground and at risk of being released into the atmosphere lies in these unique landforms. Thermokarst forms when ice-rich permafrost ground thaws and causes land subsidence. The mapping project, led by the University of Alberta and the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, estimates that these landforms cover about 20% of the northern permafrost.