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.

Scientific Frontiers

Atmospheric Science

Climate/Carbon Science

Risk and Hazard Assessment

Geophysics and Seismology

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 ...