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.
- BER’s Climate and Earth System Modeling programs develop and apply high fidelity models representing Earth system changes in order to improve understanding of the significant drivers, feedbacks, and uncertainties within the integrated Earth system and thereby to provide vital information needed for effective energy and connected infrastructure planning. The Earth System Modeling (ESM) Program supports the development of advanced computational, numerical, statistical, dynamical, biogeochemical and physical representations of the Earth system and its components, in order to anticipate and project important Earth system changes, dynamical thresholds and tipping points. The Regional and Global Climate Modeling Program seeks to understand the factors that determine regional variability and change, using simulations, data management architectures, and diagnostic measures. The Climate Model Development and Validation Program develops modeling capabilities that involve high-resolution Large Eddy Simulations, next-generation terrestrial and atmospheric algorithms for global models, advanced software for Earth system models, and validation of the simulations datasets spanning scales from process-to-global, including those generated by the ARM Climate Research Facility and long term field experiments supported by Terrestrial Ecosystem Sciences Program. The Integrated Assessment Research Program seeks to advance scientific understanding of the complex interactions, interdependencies, and co-evolutionary pathways of human and natural systems, including interdependencies among sectors and infrastructures. There is a particular emphasis on understanding the energy-water-land nexus under a broad range of scenarios, including the evaluation of scale-aware processes and probabilistic uncertainties that can lead to instability through thresholds and tipping points.
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.