Diana Bull examines a coastal permafrost bluff along the North Slope of Alaska. (Photo by Jennifer Frederick)

Atmospheric Scientist Uses Statistical Approaches to Study Climate Impacts

March 21, 2022 8:00 am Published by

Diana Bull, a researcher in Sandia’s atmospheric sciences group, is not afraid to try new things. Her research has taken her from private industry pursuing ocean wave energy research, to research at the University of Pennsylvania, to exploring innovative ideas supporting climate security at Sandia. Though her applied research background is diverse, Diana has remained steadfast in her passion for climate.

She began her career at Sandia 10 years ago while working on ocean wave energy conversion research. Six years ago, she began focusing her research on changes in the Arctic and Arctic security, examining Arctic coastal erosion. “From there my work began to move to more of a strategic position working in the Strategic Futures and Policy Analysis group. It was there that I started to think about the Arctic and climate change from a strategic position, endeavoring to really understand where impact could be made,” Diana said.

“Climate change touches just about every single aspect of life, and so finding the aspect that is important to any person is possible.”

—Diana Bull, Sandia atmospheric sciences researcher

In 2021, Diana, along with peers across the national laboratories, launched the CLDERA, or CLimate impact: Determining Etiology thRough pAthways, project to develop new statistical approaches to attribute climate impacts to and from their sources. The novel analytic tools will be demonstrated on simulations and observations of the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines — the 20th century’s second-largest volcanic eruption — with the goal of elucidating the dominant connective relationships between that event and its climate impacts. These relationships will serve as crucial constraints helping to cull the possibilities in attribution. These tools could go on to inform new climate agreements, for instance, by tying climate impacts back to their causes and establishing the needed systems for detection and attribution of future impacts.

Read Diana’s interview to better understand how her work addresses climate security awareness, climate intervention, and adaptations driven by the changing climate, as well as her approach to educating others about climate change.

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