Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change
  • animation of typhoon Haiyan satellite and destruction 2014

    Less Salty Ocean is Right Up Typhoons' Alley

    Typhoon Alley, an area of the western tropical Pacific, already has destructive storms that rip through the region. That area may see more and more intense storms, according to researchers at PNNL. Their analysis of the strongest tropical storms over the last half-century— known as super typhoons— reveals that they are intensifying. Rain that falls on the ocean reduces its salinity and allows typhoons to grow stronger.

  • rushing water screen shot for video

    Consider the Probabilities

    Scientists at PNNL found that almost half of the USA's lower 48 states are likely to experience significant changes in assumptions about surface water availability caused by 'new normals' in those systems by the end of the 21st century. Associated with those changes is a substantial increase in low and high extreme flow events. In other words, influenced by the changes in variability—the extremes and seasonality—rather than a shift in the average.

  • JGR-Atmospheres Cover November 2016

    Cloud Illusions: Resolving the Unresolved

    Researchers at PNNL have improved a statistical technique that predicts how well cloud properties line up vertically. This method reveals how these vertical relationships depend on the type of cloud particles: droplets, rain, snow, or hail. With this information, scientists can better describe cloud types and their characteristics to improve climate model performance.

  • the Madden-Julian oscillation moving over Borneo

    A Daily Cycle of Heat Stalls the MJO

    Researchers at PNNL used computer simulations and local data to find that the daily cloud pulses over the Maritime Continent can stall the progress of the Madden-Julien Oscillation, a large climate wave that originates in the Indian Ocean. This cycle of daily of cloudiness causes rain to fall out of the system instead of letting the MJO quickly pass over the islands carrying rain toward the US Pacific Coast.

  • MPAS variable resolution modeling example

    Finding Rain and Climate Connections

    PNNL scientists found that storminess in Asia can cause a shift of the jet stream and alter weather patterns in the southern hemisphere. Using advanced computational modeling, they examined local conditions and global patterns at the same time. Being able to model these remote connections between local to global is an important part of understanding weather and climate.

How do human activities and natural systems interact to affect the Earth's climate? Ultimately, that is the question challenging scientists in PNNL’s Atmospheric Sciences & Global Change Division.

Read more about our organization.   [+ expand/ - collapse]

Atmospheric Sciences & Global Change

Seminar Series

Science at PNNL