The Climate and Environmental Sciences Division (CESD) focuses on advancing a robust predictive understanding of Earth's climate and environmental systems and to inform the development of sustainable solutions to the Nation's energy and environmental challenges. There are five goals which frame the Division's programs and investments: (a) synthesize new process knowledge and innovative computational methods that advance next generation, integrated models of the human-earth system; (b) develop, test and simulate process-level understanding of atmospheric systems and terrestrial ecosystems, extending from bedrock to the top of the vegetative canopy; (c) advance fundamental understanding of coupled biogeochemical processes in complex subsurface environments to enable systems-level prediction and control; (d) enhance the unique capabilities and impacts of the ARM and EMSL scientific user facilities and other BER community resources to advance the frontiers of climate and environmental science; and (e) identify and address science gaps that limit translation of CESD fundamental science into solutions for DOE's most pressing energy and environmental challenges.
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 program emphasizes below ground hydrology and fate and transport of nutrients, radionuclides, and heavy metals. Basic science research exploits, in part, long term field measurements supported by the program as well as molecular scale studies involving 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 Integrated Assessment 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.