Climate & Earth Systems

A sustainable future requires understanding and ensuring that the Earth system supports both stationary and transportation energy systems while mitigating the impact these energy systems have on the Earth. Sandia is focused on three primary R&D areas that are aligned with the DOE’s emerging crosscutting program initiatives:

Climate Measurement & Modeling

Climate models can inform national and state policy development and may be used to dynamically manage the mitigation of climate change, climate engineering and adaptation of infrastructure and management of basic environmental resources.


Reducing environmental impacts of fossil fuel production and use.

Water/Energy Nexus

Water and energy availability are interdependent in the infrastructure that currently supports and sustains our society.

Climate Measurement & Modeling

A national leader in Arctic measurements, end-to-end scientific assessments, and modeling.
Atmosphere-ocean models for simulating Earth’s climate system.
Covers a variety of applications including simulation, modeling, computation, modeling, and more.

Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy (ACME) project


ACME is an unprecedented collaboration among eight national laboratories and six partner institutions to develop and apply the most complete, leading-edge climate and Earth system models to challenging and demanding climate-change research imperatives.

Energy/Water Nexus

Water and energy availability are interdependent in the infrastructure that currently supports and sustains our society. It is essential that the nation understands and reduces the interdependence while ensuring sufficient energy or water is available for development of the other resource.
Sandia has been engaged in the Energy/Nexus Working Group consortium since 2000.
Transfer of water between uses requires data collection and decision tools to manage the redistribution.
New-technology demonstrations including security, sensors, and filtration methods.

Research Spotlight


The Center for Frontiers of Subsurface Energy Security (CFSES) is pursuing scientific understanding of multiscale, multiphysics processes to ensure safe and economically feasible storage of carbon dioxide and other byproducts of energy production without harming the environment.

TEDxABQ Video: Mankind can bet on global warming — and win

Mark Boslough is a physicist, member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories, adjunct professor at University of New Mexico, and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Asteroid 73520 Boslough was named after him.

Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy

ACME is an unprecedented collaboration among seven National Laboratories, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, four academic institutions and one private-sector company to develop and apply the most complete leading-edge climate and Earth system models to the most challenging and demanding climate change research imperatives.

View All Publications
  • PV Performance Modeling Workshop May 1, 2013
  • Transformational Solutions for Water in the West Workshop September 5, 2013
  • National Innovation Summit & Showcase June 14, 2015

Sandians Recognized in Environmental Science & Technology’s Best Paper Competition

A paper by Vince Tidwell, Barbie Moreland, and Katie Zemlick (all currently in or formerly members of Sandia’s Earth Systems Analysis Dept.), “Geographic footprint of electricity use for water services in the western US,” was […]

Sandia, UNM Form Alliance to Promote Research, Recruiting

By signing the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a Strategic Alliance, then Sandia President and Director Paul Hommert and University of New Mexico Provost Chaouki Abdallah expanded our institutions’ commitment to work together to help […]

Arctic Airspace Warning Area Established to Aid Research & Exploration

The US Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have placed a 700-mile-long, 40-mile wide stretch of airspace, north from Oliktok Point (the northernmost point of Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay) to about 400 […]

Workshop “Shales at All Scales: Exploring Coupled Processes” Is a Success

This workshop, held June 9–11 in Santa Fe, explored physical and geochemical processes in shale controlled by diagenesis; nano-confinement and pore-scale coupled processes in shale; fracture and coupled processes of shale; and multi-scale, multi-physics behavior […]