The Physical and Life Sciences (PLS) Directorate supports the Laboratory's science, technological, and programmatic missions that need expertise in the earth, atmospheric, and environmental sciences. Our geoscience and environmental research spans topics that encompass the entire Earth, from the top of the atmosphere to the core.
The Atmospheric, Earth, and Energy Sciences Division oversees the directorate’s work in atmospheric, earth, and energy sciences.
- Laboratory Scientists Contributed to Work behind Nobel Peace Prize
- Increase in Atmospheric Moisture Tied to Human Activities
- Water Table Depth Tied to Droughts in Great Plains
- Ocean Temperatures and Sea Level Increases 50 Percent Higher than Previously Estimated
- Lab Researchers Find that Humans are Cause of Diminishing Water Flow in the West
- Human Activities Reshape California Climate
- Climate Models Consistent with Ocean Warming Observations
- Carbon Goes Full Circle in the Amazon
- Volcanoes Helped Slow Ocean Warming Trend
- Too Hot to Handle—Modeling Global Climate
- Climate and Agriculture: Change Begets Change
Risk and Hazard Assessment
- On the Leading Edge of Atmospheric Predictions
- New Climate Research Reveals Growing Risk of Water Shortages and Flooding in California
Geophysics and Seismology
- Sleuthing Seismic Signals
- Researchers Distinguish Waves from Mine Collapses from Other Seismic Activities
- Re-creating the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake
- A Calculated Journey to the Center of the Earth
Science at the Intersection of Physics, Chemistry, Materials, Atmospheric, Earth, and Life Sciences
PLS also conducts a broad range of science at the intersection of multiple disciplines. PLS conducts work in the areas of computational physics, energy technology, environmental sciences, geochemistry, geophysics, hydrologic sciences, and nuclear science.
A team led by Livermore scientists has helped reconcile the differences between simulated and observed temperature trends in the tropics.
Using state-of-the-art observational datasets and results from computer model simulations archived at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, LLNL researchers and colleagues from 11 other scientific institutions have refuted a recent claim that simulated temperature trends in the tropics are fundamentally inconsistent with observations. This claim was based on the application of a flawed statistical test and the use of older observational datasets.
Climate model experiments invariably predict that human-caused greenhouse gas increases should lead to more warming in the tropical troposphere (the lowest layer of the atmosphere) than at the tropical land and ocean surface. This predicted “amplification” behavior is in accord with basic theoretical expectations. More about climate models ...