The Division is organized into three research activities, each containing one or more programs and/or linkages to national user facilities. These are:
- The Atmospheric System Research activity seeks to understand the physics, chemistry, and dynamics governing clouds, aerosols, and precipitation interactions, with a goal to advance the predictive understanding of the climate system. The Atmospheric Systems Research (ASR) program supports basic science research conducted by university and national laboratory investigators, where research is based in most part on field observations collected by the ARM Climate Research Facility and/or discovery science involving the Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory.
- The Environmental System Science activity seeks to advance a robust predictive understanding of terrestrial surface and subsurface ecosystems, within a domain that extends from the bedrock to the top of the vegetated canopy and from molecular to global scales. This activity focuses on understanding the interdependencies involving biogeochemical, genomic, ecological, geohydrological, and migration processes involving nutrients and contaminants, diverse landscape systems, and spanning arctic to tropical climates. The terrestrial ecosystem program emphasizes the role of ecosystems in climate, while the subsurface biogeochemistry research program seeks to advance a predictive understanding of how watersheds function as complex hydrobiogeochemical systems. Basic science research exploits, in part, long term field measurements supported by the program as well as molecular-to-mesoscale experimental and modeling research using capabilities at the Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory.
- The Climate and Earth System Modeling activity seeks to develop high fidelity community models representing earth and climate system variabilities and change, with a significant focus on the response of systems to natural and anthropogenic forcing. The Earth System Modeling (ESM) program seeks to advance computational, numerical, dynamical, and biogeophysical representations of the earth system and its components, and examine system dynamical thresholds and tipping points using uncertainty quantification methodologies. The Regional and Global Climate Modeling Program seeks to understand the natural and anthropogenic components of regional variability and change, using simulations, data management architectures, and diagnostic measures. The Climate Model Development and Validation program seeks to advance high resolution modeling capabilities that involve Large Eddy Simulations, advanced software, and data generated by both the ARM Climate Research Facility and long term field experiments supported by Terrestrial Ecosystem Sciences program. The Integrated Assessment Research Program seeks to understand and describe the role of human activity (e.g., existing energy infrastructures, proposed renewable infrastructures, related water infrastructures, etc.) as an interdependent component of the regional climate and earth system, with a view to define system dynamical thresholds and tipping points, larger scale impacts, and possible mitigation strategies.
Two scientific user facilities exploited by the CESD research programs include the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility (ACRF) and the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) provide the broad scientific community with technical capabilities, scientific expertise, and unique information to facilitate science in areas of importance to DOE.