Energy and Climate
Energy and ClimateClimate/Environment



The Climate/Environment program works to understand and prepare the nation for the national security implications of climate change.

National security is Sandia National Laboratories’ foundational mission. Our nation’s security can only be achieved in a stable international environment. Sandia maintains close working relationships within the many agencies of the intelligence community and the DoD. There is a growing recognition of the importance of the impact of climate change on emergent security dynamics and intervention capabilities as documented in a series of reports. The UK Ministry of Defense previously devoted more than one-third of its analysis on threats due to climate change (Global Strategic Trends: 2007–2036). The climate instability we now anticipate will produce conditions that increase border tensions, reduce the abilities of allies to respond, and provide an environment ripe for breeding terrorism and extremism. Most importantly, the DoD report, “Impacts of Climate Change,” notes the critical need to substantiate climate concerns by developing analytical tools to ensure self consistency, realism, validation, and a concrete foundation for strategic/tactical and operational execution.

Sensing and Monitoring

The Atmospheric Radiation Monitoring (ARM) program is the Department of Energy’s largest global climate-change research effort. Created in 1989 to help resolve scientific uncertainties related to global climate change, the ARM program focuses on the role of clouds and aerosols.

Modeling and Analysis

The uncertainty in climate change and its impacts is of great concern to the international community. While the ever-growing body of scientific evidence substantiates present climate change, the driving concern about this issue lies in the consequences it poses to humanity. Policy makers will most likely need to make decisions about climate policy before climate scientists have quantified all relevant uncertainties about the impacts of climate change. Sandia scientists seek to develop a risk-assessment methodology to evaluate uncertain future climatic conditions.

Carbon Management

A growing consensus exists among climate scientists, economists, and policy makers that the link between man-made emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) and climate instability is sufficiently likely to motivate global actions. Energy use and energy generation are at the heart of the problem, with the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasting that global electricity generation will nearly double from 2005 to 2030.

Water Security

The safety, security, and sustainability of our fresh/potable water supply are national security issues. Nationally, water is a critical part of our economy through the connection to energy production and to our economic prosperity and security.

Upcoming Climate/Environment Events

  • ECIS Climate Change and National Security Speaker Series
    May 1, 2013 to May 1, 2013,

    Dr. Richard Alley is the Evan Pugh Professor at the Department of Geosciences, and Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, at the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Alley has traveled from Antarctica to Greenland to help learn the history of Earth's climate and whether the great ice sheets will fall in the ocean and flood our coasts. With over 225 scientific publications, he has been asked to provide advice to the highest levels of government, and been recognized with numerous awards including election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He hosted the recent PBS miniseries “Earth: The Operators' Manual,” and has been compared to a cross between Woody Allen and Carl Sagan for his enthusiastic efforts to communicate the excitement and importance of the science to everyone.

  • PV Performance Modeling Workshop
    May 1, 2013 to May 2, 2013, Biltmore Hotel

    This symposium co-hosted by Sandia National Laboratories and the Electric Power Research Institute includes three separate workshops organized over one week.

  • Transformational Solutions for Water in the West Workshop
    September 5, 2013 to September 5, 2013, University of New Mexico Student Union Building

    This workshop, hosted by the Atlantic Council and Sandia National Laboratories, will explore transformational ideas for mitigating water scarcity in the Western US.

See All Upcoming Events

Climate/Environment News

Sandian Invited to Speak at “Addressing the Food, Water, and Energy Nexus”Howard Passell (in Sandia’s Earth Systems Analysis Dept.) was invited to provide an opening introduction at the February 11th event, “Addressing the Food, Water, and Energy Nexus,” organized by the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, Energy and Environment Program and the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security in Washington, D.C. Howard’s talk was entitled “Opening Remarks: […]
Dakota Version 5.4 ReleasedSandia’s Dakota software delivers advanced parametric analysis techniques enabling design exploration, model calibration, risk analysis, and quantification of margins and uncertainty with computational models. Dakota v5.4 was released November 15, 2013, and deployed on supported Sandia computing systems. The release includes new capabilities for uncertainty quantification (UQ), optimization, and calibration. UQ highlights include a new […]

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