Five scientists sit at a long table in front of a screen and one person stands off to the side with an audience in the foreground

Cross-lab summit brings together experts to connect on climate issues

June 10, 2024 7:44 am Published by

Addressing climate change is a top priority for the U.S. Department of Energy, and the national laboratories stand at the forefront of research and action to meet this challenge. These efforts were highlighted at the inaugural Climate Summit between Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories on May 7 at the Los Alamos J. Robert Oppenheimer Study Center.

About 80 people from the two labs attended the hybrid event, including labs leadership, researchers, facilities and infrastructure specialists, and business professionals. The summit was organized by Wilbert Weijer, a physical oceanographer at Los Alamos, and Erika Roesler, an atmospheric scientist at Sandia, to identify shared research interests, the challenges facing both organizations and funding opportunities.

The summit began with presentations by each lab, including Sandia’s Climate Change Security Center Director Rob Leland and Los Alamos’ Climate and Clean Energy Coordinator Matt Heavner.

“There are many areas of synergy between Sandia and Los Alamos that we can take advantage of to maximize our impact,” Leland said. “I hope we can use future summits to dive deeper into technical areas like aerosol modeling and strategies for reducing SF6 [sulfur hexafluoride] emissions.”

Following the presentations and a panel, a poster session highlighted the breadth of climate-related work being performed at the labs. The thirty-five posters ranged from modeling aerosols in the atmosphere to nature-based solutions for carbon sequestration, and from researching Arctic coastal environments to looking at aquifer recharge in New Mexico’s Pajarito Plateau where Los Alamos is located.

The summit concluded with two afternoon breakout sessions focused on specific topics like extreme events and machine learning, climate and national security, and climate and health. Participants discussed the biggest research, development and deployment gaps in these areas and brainstormed ideas for future collaborations.

Those interested in learning more about the intersection of climate change and international security are invited to attend the Harnessing Transformational Technologies Symposia Series on this topic, hosted by Los Alamos and the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, June 26 and 27 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Photo: Scientists from Los Alamos and Sandia address questions from the audience after the morning plenary session. Seated, from left: Mark Taylor (Sandia), Matt Heavner (Los Alamos), Rob Leland (Sandia), Stephen Price (Los Alamos) and Nicole Jackson (Sandia). Standing: Wilbert Weijer (Los Alamos). (Photo by Felix Sanchez/Los Alamos National Laboratory)

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