20-Aug-2015 Carbon number crunching
A booming economy and population led China to emerge in 2006 as the global leader in fossil-fuel carbon emissions, a distinction it still maintains. But exactly how much carbon China releases has been a topic of debate, with recent estimates varying by as much as 15 percent.
18-Aug-2015 Viral comparisons
An Oak Ridge National Laboratory team of comparative genomics and computational science researchers compared approximately 4,000 complete virus genomes downloaded from a public database known as GenBank. By compressing the sequence files, the team created a virus dendrogram that maps out the relationships among all the different virus families.
29-Jun-2015 Magnetic attraction
Researchers studying a broad spectrum of science, including biofuel production processes, climate effects on carbon cycling in the soil and carbon transformations in the atmosphere will soon have access to EMSL's new 21 Tesla Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer. Scientists are eager to start getting molecular-level information for their research, and six inaugural studies were selected to use the new instrument through a Special Science Call.
24-Jun-2015 Berkeley Lab scientists to develop better way to screen chemicals for cancer-causing effects
Berkeley Lab scientists are developing a cell culture that could help researchers better identify chemicals that increase breast cancer susceptibility. The scientists will grow the culture using adult stem cells obtained from breast tissue. Their test will show if a chemical causes a breakdown in cell-to-cell communication, a fundamental defect of cancer.
18-Jun-2015 Adapting nanoscience imaging tools to study ants' heat-deflecting adaptations
A new study shows that the tiny hairs of Saharan silver ants possess crucial adaptive features that allow the ants to regulate their body temperatures and survive the scorching hot conditions of their desert habitat. To study how the hairs allow the creatures to control electromagnetic waves in this manner, the Columbia Engineering research team turned to the resources and expertise available at Brookhaven Lab's Center for Functional Nanomaterials.
1-Jun-2015 Meraculous: Deciphering the 'book of life' with supercomputers
A team of scientists from Berkeley Lab, JGI and UC Berkeley, simplified and sped up genome assembly, reducing a months-long process to mere minutes. This was primarily achieved by 'parallelizing' the code to harness the processing power of supercomputers, such as NERSC's Edison system.
27-May-2015 The 'why' of models
An international team of researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Macquarie University, the University of Western Sydney and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry set out to assess how two Free-Air CO2 Enrichment projects compared to eleven vegetation models that simulate various ecological processes. Instead of only benchmarking whether or not an individual model matched the experimental data, the researchers developed an 'assumption-centered' approach to evaluate why certain models performed better than others.
12-May-2015 Finding the missing particles
For the past 20 years, a large portion of the particles measured in the atmosphere were missing from models. At best, models were able to explain one-tenth of the carbon-rich secondary organic aerosols measured in the air. The problem turned out to be a series of fundamental assumptions used in the models due to a lack of experimental data. All of the assumptions were proven false by Dr. Alla Zelenyuk and her colleagues.
8-May-2015 New method relates Greenland ice sheet changes to sea-level rise
Climate models are not yet able to include full models of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and to dynamically simulate how ice sheet changes influence sea level. Early schemes failed to accurately account for mass increase due to snowfall and mass loss due to snow melt. These changes depend on ice sheet elevation and region. A new method that includes the effects of elevation and region was developed.
6-May-2015 Heat's role in the Madden-Julian Oscillation
Tropical monsoons in Indonesia and floods in the United States are both provoked by the Madden-Julian Oscillation, a process that results in pulses of clouds and precipitation moving eastward around the globe. Despite the MJO's importance, global models often struggle to simulate the oscillation accurately. Researchers showed that MJO simulations are most sensitive to the existence of lower level heating in the atmosphere.
6-May-2015 Genetics of wood formation
To begin to understand the complex genetic interactions that control a potential bioenergy crop, scientists built a robust high-throughput pipeline for studying the hierarchy of genetic regulation of wood formation using tissue-specific single cells known as protoplasts.
1-May-2015 New tool shrinks big data in biology studies at SLAC's X-ray laser
A team led by Stanford scientists has created software that tackles the big data problem for X-ray laser experiments at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The program allows researchers to tease out more details while using far fewer samples and less data and time.
1-May-2015 New mathematical method enhances hydrology simulations
Just as a racecar's engine needs the right fuel to get the best performance, so climate models need finely tuned parameters to accurately simulate the impacts of different technologies and policies. Led by researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a team applied sophisticated mathematical solutions to fine tune the water and energy exchange parameters, numerical stand-ins for complex processes, to better simulate water and energy fluxes.
30-Apr-2015 Model captures how nitrogen limitation affects hydrological processes
Rising atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide act as a fertilizer for plants, speeding their growth and altering how they use water and interact with the climate. However, an insufficient supply of nitrogen can limit the rapid growth caused by increased carbon dioxide. Researchers adapted the Community Land Model to represent how nitrogen limitation affects plant growth.
29-Apr-2015 Special science call projects announced
EMSL's Special Science Call for Proposals ran from mid-April through September and generated 23 accepted studies. The call challenged prospective users to submit high-impact research projects that took advantage of EMSL's technical resources including RadEMSL, the Quiet Wing microscopy and NanoSIMS capabilities, and HRMAC. The research associated with the call is progressing, and the projects will soon start delivering important scientific findings.
28-Apr-2015 Ground control
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. Soil is critical for food production and climate regulation. It's a complex underground ecosystem of organisms that process decaying debris to enrich the land as well as store and release carbon into the atmosphere. However, human activity and changing climate are impacting this environmental system. Scientists working at EMSL are trying to understand the complexities of soil to develop better sustainable land management to protect it.
10-Apr-2015 Bacteria tracked feeding nitrogen to nutrient-starved plants
An international team of researchers, including three from Brookhaven National Laboratory, tracked nitrogen as soil bacteria pulled it from the air and released it as plant-friendly ammonium. This eco-friendly process -- called biological nitrogen fixation -- substantially promoted growth in certain grass crops.
31-Mar-2015 BigNeuron: Unlocking the secrets of the human brain
To find a standard 3-D neuron reconstruction algorithm, Big Neuron will sponsor a series of international hackathons and workshops where contending algorithms will be ported onto a common software platform to analyze neuronal physical structure using the same core dataset. All ported algorithms will be bench-tested at DOE's NERSC and ORNL, as well as Human Brain Project supercomputing centers.
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.