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 & Environment

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

  • 10th Annual Conference on Carbon Capture & Sequestration
    May 2, 2011 to May 5, 2011, Pittsburgh, PA

    The 2011 Conference follows in the footsteps of the past nine events,
    maintaining the objectives to:
    — Focus on carbon capture, separation and sequestration technologies that
    are being or could be deployed in the U.S. and North America;
    — Provide a forum for the exchange of experience among U.S. and
    international scientific and engineering communities working on such
    technologies and systems;
    — Facilitate the necessary dialogue between technology
    developers/purveyors, industry and the public on the development and
    deployment of viable technologies; and
    — Share experience on developing the necessary capacity within the
    public and private sector to move the technology base forward.

  • Energy Frontier Research Centers Summit & Forum
    May 25, 2011 to May 27, 2011, Washington, D.C.

    "Science for Our Nation’s Energy Future" will explore the challenges and opportunities in applying America’s extraordinary scientific and technical resources to critical energy needs. It will highlight early successes of the Department of Energy's Office of Science Energy Frontier Research Centers and promote collaboration across the national energy enterprise.

  • NETL CO2 Capture Technology Meeting
    August 22, 2011 to August 26, 2011, Pittsburgh, PA

    The 2011 CO2 Capture Technology Meeting will provide a public forum to present carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technology development status and accomplishments made under NETL’s Innovations for Existing Plants, Carbon Sequestration and Demonstration Programs (CCPI -Clean Coal Power Initiative and ICCS -Industrial Carbon Capture and Sequestration). In addition, DOE’s ARPA-E will also highlight their CO2 capture portfolio. This year’s meeting will cover post-combustion, oxy-combustion, and precombustion carbon capture. Chemical Looping and CO2 compression technologies will also be included. The meeting will have open registration so that in addition to researchers, participants may include employees of other government agencies, electric utilities, research organizations, and state regulatory agencies.

  • 12th National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment: Environment and Security
    January 18, 2012 to January 20, 2012, Washington, D.C.

    The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) will present its 12th National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment: Environment and Security, January 18-20, 2012 in Washington, DC. The event will take place at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

  • TedxABQ 2012: Engage Your Passion
    September 8, 2012 to September 8, 2012, Albuquerque, NM

    Mark Boslough will be giving a presentation at the TedxABQ 2012: Engage Your Passion called, “Betting on Global Warming.”

  • 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.

  • National Innovation Summit & Showcase
    June 14, 2015 to June 18, 2015, Washington, DC

See All Upcoming Events

Climate/Environment News

Sandians Participate in 46th Annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) ConferenceFifty-six Sandians from ten Centers joined more than 22,000 geoscience professionals, students, and academics at the December AGU Fall Meeting. Sandia staff chaired multiple technical sessions and gave dozens of presentations on topics ranging from improved climate models to performance models for underground waste storage to 3D printing and digital rock physics. Marianne Walck (Director […]
NASA Award for Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Process Experiment (MIZOPEX)Sandians Mark Ivey and Darin Desilets (both in Sandia’s Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences Dept.) were included in a NASA Group Achievement Award “for outstanding achievement in executing the MIZOPEX using multiple classes of unmanned aircraft [UASs].” The MIZOPEX campaign used DOE’s Sandia-managed Oliktok Point, Alaska, facilities to investigate unique UAS capabilities, combined with in situ sensing […]

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