Sandia Labs News Releases

Category Archives: Climate Change

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Two men look at blue shipping container-like shelters. One points.

Sandia-operated Arctic measurement facility moves, research to continue

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After eight great years of observations and research, a Sandia National Laboratories-operated atmospheric measurement facility moved from Oliktok Point, on the North Slope of Alaska, this summer. The mobile facility will be relocating to the southeastern United States; the exact location is still being decided. The Department of Energy Office of Science’s […]

‘I’m melting, melting’ — environmentally hazardous coal waste diminished by citric acid

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In one of nature’s unexpected bounties, a harmless food-grade solvent has been used to extract highly sought rare-earth metals from coal ash, reducing the amount of ash without damaging the environment and at the same time increasing an important national resource. Coal ash is the unwanted but widely present residue of coal-fired […]

Sandia uncovers hidden factors that affect solar farms during severe weather

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories researchers combined large sets of real-world solar data and advanced machine learning to study the impacts of severe weather on U.S. solar farms, and sort out what factors affect energy generation. Their results were published earlier this month in the scientific journal Applied Energy. Hurricanes, blizzards, hailstorms and wildfires […]

Two small balloons against a blue sky to the left of a large tower with a

Here comes the sun: Tethered-balloon tests ensure safety of new solar-power technology

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — What do tiny dust particles, 22-foot-wide red balloons and “concentrated” sunlight have in common? Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories recently used 22-foot-wide tethered balloons to collect samples of airborne dust particles to ensure the safety of an emerging solar-power technology. The study determined that the dust created by the new technology is […]

A song of ice and fiber

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories researchers are beginning to analyze the first seafloor dataset from under Arctic sea ice using a novel method. They were able to capture ice quakes and transportation activities on the North Slope of Alaska while also monitoring for other climate signals and marine life. The team, led by Sandia […]

Hot red flame coming out of white ice-like blocks on black background.

Finding fire and ice: Modeling the probability of methane hydrate deposits on the seafloor

RALEIGH, N.C. — Methane hydrate, an ice-like material made of compressed natural gas, burns when lit and can be found in some regions of the seafloor and in Arctic permafrost. Thought to be the world’s largest source of natural gas, methane hydrate is a potential fuel source, and if it “melts” and methane gas is […]

International research team begins uncovering Arctic mystery

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Something lurks beneath the Arctic Ocean. While it’s not a monster, it has largely remained a mystery. According to 25 international researchers who collaborated on a first-of-its-kind study, frozen land beneath rising sea levels currently traps 60 billion tons of methane and 560 billion tons of organic carbon. Little is known about […]

Machine-learning technique from Sandia Labs could improve fusion energy outputs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Machine-learning techniques, best known for teaching self-driving cars to stop at red lights, may soon help researchers around the world improve their control over the most complicated reaction known to science: nuclear fusion. Fusion reactions are typically hydrogen atoms heated to form a gaseous cloud called a plasma that releases energy as […]

Power Grid

Sandia initiatives to protect US energy grid and nuclear weapons systems

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — To deter attempts to disable U.S. electrical utilities and to defend U.S. nuclear weapon systems from evolving technological threats, Sandia National Laboratories has begun two multiyear initiatives to strengthen U.S. responses. One is focused on defending large U.S. electrical utility systems from potential attacks by hostile nations, as well as from damage […]

Dave Martinez inspects a thermosyphon cooler

Cooling unit saves half-million gallons of water at Sandia supercomputing center

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A cooling unit installed on the roof of Sandia National Laboratories’ supercomputer center saved 554,000 gallons of water during its first six months of operation last year, says David J. Martinez, engineering project lead for Sandia’s Infrastructure Computing Services. The dramatic decrease in water use, important for a water-starved state, could be […]


From Afghanistan to Alaska with atmosphere in between

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For Justin LaPierre, helping maintain an atmospheric research station at the northern tip of Alaska is “eerily reminiscent” of being deployed in the deserts of Afghanistan — just much colder. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, LaPierre has worked as an observer at Oliktok Point for two years. The site is the third […]

Kelsey DiPietro

Hate to wait? Sandia looks to speed up climate research

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Presumably, Leonardo da Vinci could have saved a lot of time on his “Mona Lisa” if he had just slapped on two dots and a swoosh for a smiley face. But details take time. The same goes for running computer models and simulations. If you want oceans of calculations to study something […]

David J. Martinez

Water use cut in half at federal lab in Colorado, thanks in part to Sandia

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A Sandia National Laboratories engineer has won a Department of Energy environmental award for helping halve the amount of water used to cool a high-performance computer data center in 2017 at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. David J. Martinez, engineering project lead for Sandia’s infrastructure computing services, received the […]

David Osborn

Researchers discover new source of formic acid over Pacific, Indian oceans

LIVERMORE, Calif. — Insights from experiments at Sandia National Laboratories designed to push chemical systems far from equilibrium allowed an international group of researchers to discover a new major source of formic acid over the Pacific and Indian oceans. The discovery was published in the July 3 issue of Nature Communications and featured on the […]


Exascale Earth-modeling system is ready to make high-fidelity predictions for energy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An Earth modeling system developed over the last four years and unveiled Monday is expected to have one of the finest resolutions ever achieved by supercomputers simulating aspects of the planet’s climate, said Sandia National Laboratories researcher Mark Taylor, the project’s chief computational scientist. The Energy Exascale Earth System Model, E3SM, is […]

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