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Science Directorate
  • dust and pollution mix in Beijing's suburbs

    The Surprising Clarity of Dust

    PNNL researchers, working with collaborators, found that desert dust actually promotes winds over China to whisk away human-caused pollution. When the dust is absent, the air doesn't move, allowing pollution to build up and linger in the atmosphere. Especially during the winter, reduced dust levels led to a 13 percent increase in human-caused pollution over eastern China.

  • HST17

    (Pro)Active Transport

    As part of the Asymmetric Resilient Cybersecurity initiative, PNNL scientists Sam Chatterjee and Mahantesh Halappanavar with co-authors Venkateswaran Shekar and Lance Fiondella, both from UMass Dartmouth, devised a new paradigm to assess transportation network vulnerabilities via a dynamic simulation that can account for overall variability. Their work aims to better inform how to manage potential threats and risks to these critical infrastructures and was recognized with the Attack and Disaster Track Best Paper Award at this year’s IEEE Symposium on Technologies for Homeland Security.

  • Graham

    Modeling Microbial Ecology in the Hyporheic Zone

    A new paper, led by post-doc and microbial ecologist Emily B. Graham, starts to close a knowledge gap about microbial ecology within hyporheic zones.

  • First time viewing crystal snapping.

    Researchers Measure Forces that Align Crystals and Help Them Snap Together

    Like two magnets being pulled toward each other, tiny crystals twist, align and slam into each other, but due to an altogether different force. For the first time, researchers have measured the force that draws them together and visualized how they swivel and align.

Our researchers advance the frontiers of science to study, predict, and engineer complex adaptive systems related to Earth, energy, and security. Our investigations inhabit every scale. We study the vast whirl of aerosol-laden clouds; the complex shoreline interfaces of land and sea; the mysterious microbiomes that teem just beneath the Earth’s surface; and the myriad of molecules busy on surfaces just angstroms wide.

We investigate elemental chemical and physical processes, including new catalysts that speed up the efficiency of renewable fuels. We study climate system dynamics to predict the effects of climate change. We design and synthesize the functional and structural materials of the future, including robust metal foils thinner than a human hair.

We are proud to host two unique DOE user facilities. EMSL facilitates molecular-level investigations into the physical, chemical, and biological processes that underlie the Earth’s most critical environmental issues. ARM provides a setting for climate research and instrumentation development, and is strengthened by streaming data from a worldwide complex of sensing stations.

Science at PNNL

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User Facilities