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ORNL’s David Sholl is director of the new DOE Energy Earthshot Non-Equilibrium Energy Transfer for Efficient Reactions center to help decarbonize the industrial chemical industry. Credit: Genevieve Martin, ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy

ORNL has been selected to lead an Energy Earthshot Research Center, or EERC, focused on developing chemical processes that use sustainable methods instead of burning fossil fuels to radically reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions to stem climate change and limit the crisis of a rapidly warming planet.

The ORNL DAAC gathers, processes, archives and distributes information on key land processes, including the shifting ecological and geomorphological features of the U.S. Atchafalaya and Terrebonne basins gathered by the NASA Delta-X mission shown here. Credit: NASA Delta-X

In 1993 as data managers at ORNL began compiling observations from field experiments for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the information fit on compact discs and was mailed to users along with printed manuals.

 A group of ORNL staff standing in a long corridor with flags hanging from the ceiling

For 25 years, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have used their broad expertise in human health risk assessment, ecology, radiation protection, toxicology and information management to develop widely used tools and data for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of the agency’s Superfund program.

Map of ARM Data Center locations

From the Arctic to the Amazon, understanding the atmosphere is key to understanding our climate and other Earth systems. The ARM Data Center collects and manages global observational and experimental data amassed by the Department of Energy Office of Science’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement user facility. For the past 30 years, it has been making this data accessible to scientists around the world who study and model the Earth’s climate.

Bob Bolton has spent much of his career studying environmental change in Alaska. He recently moved to East Tennessee to join the ORNL-led NGEE Arctic project as deputy for operations. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Bob Bolton may have moved to a southerly latitude at ORNL, but he is still stewarding scientific exploration in the Arctic, along with a project that helps amplify the voices of Alaskans who reside in a landscape on the front lines of climate change.

Researchers used the open-source Community Earth System Model to simulate the effects that extreme climatic conditions have on processes like land carbon storage. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Northeastern University modeled how extreme conditions in a changing climate affect the land’s ability to absorb atmospheric carbon — a key process for mitigating human-caused emissions. They found that 88% of Earth’s regions could become carbon emitters by the end of the 21st century. 

Scientists conducted microbial DNA sampling at a Yellowstone National Park hot spring for a study sponsored by DOE’s Biological and Environmental Research program, the National Science Foundation and NASA. Credit: Mircea Podar/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists studied hot springs on different continents and found similarities in how some microbes adapted despite their geographic diversity.

Yaoping Wang. Credit: Yaoping Wang

Yaoping Wang, postdoctoral research associate at ORNL, has received an Early Career Award from the Asian Ecology Section, or AES, of the Ecological Society of America.

Madhavi Martin portrait image

Madhavi Martin brings a physicist’s tools and perspective to biological and environmental research at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, supporting advances in bioenergy, soil carbon storage and environmental monitoring, and even helping solve a murder mystery.

From left, Gladisol Smith Vega prepares to collect field data on the Oak Ridge Reservation with mentor Scott Brooks. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL. U.S. Dept. of Energy

Nearly 100 interns were introduced to Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s biological and environmental research over the summer of 2023 as mentors and students were eager to share knowledge and skills to address the nation’s energy and environmental challenges.