Earth and Atmospheric Science
Who We Are
Our staff includes data scientists, experts in aerosol physics, weather models and climate simulations and researchers who study seismic events, hydrology, carbon sequestration and sustainable energy production. Meet a few of the people who work in earth and atmospheric science:
Peter Caldwell spends a lot of time studying weather and climate patterns. His deep concern for the future of the planet drove his interest in pursuing climate science. Climate science is a blend of geophysics, computer science, numerical analysis, statistics and communications skills which is a great fit for Peter’s jack-of-all trades background.
As a member of Livermore’s Atmospheric, Earth and Energy Division, Peter combines skills in computer modeling with expertise in climate change to solve challenging problems. He is especially proud to have led a project to create a new numerical model of the atmosphere, a model with much finer spatial resolution than previous models and, potentially, the first global climate model written using C++.
Peter loves being able to work with so many bright people at Lawrence Livermore to solve difficult problems as well as the diversity of his roles and the resources and opportunities that the Laboratory offers. Outside the Laboratory, Peter enjoys “exploring the natural world under human power.” He has skied across the Sierras and off the summit of many California and Washington mountain peaks and biked from Seattle to San Francisco and back. He also enjoys kayaking and exploring the coast and rivers of California.
Peter received his Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from the University of Washington and his M.S. and B.S. in mathematics from Western Washington University.
Talented at math and science as a student and interested in extreme weather as a result of growing up in the Midwest, Jessica Cruz chose to major in atmospheric sciences in college.
Jessica hoped her graduate work would translate to a career at a national laboratory. Now, she is the group leader of the Atmospheric Science Research and Applications group and an operations scientist for the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center. Jessica is excited about the combination of science, mission and teamwork at Lawrence Livermore. “The greatest aspect of working here is the opportunity to work in a multitude of mission spaces and applications without switching employers,” she says. “I’m given the support and space to expand and deepen my expertise. Rather than competing with me, my colleagues are invested in my success and trust me to invest in their success.”
Jessica plays an active role in Livermore’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts through Amigos Unidos Hispanics in Partnership, the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Women’s Association and Livermore PRIDE. Outside of work, Jessica shares her story and promotes STEM education to local communities.
Jessica received a Ph.D. in environmental science, policy, and management from University of California, Berkeley, and a B.S. in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Deputy Group Leader
Deputy Group Leader
Jaisree Iyer was drawn to math and science as a young student. Her strength in these subjects led her to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in chemical engineering.
Now a staff scientist in the Atmospheric, Earth and Energy Division, Jaisree puts her expertise to use daily as she develops models for fluid flow processes. She derives equations that describe reactive transport processes, writes code to numerically solve equations, compares model results with experimental data and communicates her findings to the broader scientific community. Jaisree is especially proud of her work with the National Risk Assessment Partnership, which she joined around the time she started work at the Laboratory. Under this partnership, five national laboratories collaborate to quantify and manage the risks associated with geological CO2 storage with the aim of facilitating large-scale technology deployment to mitigate climate change.
Jaisree enjoys the opportunity to contribute to projects on a variety of subjects, an element of Lawrence Livermore that keeps her work intellectually engaging. She also appreciates her colleagues, saying “they are collegial, talented and a pleasure to collaborate with.” Outside of work, Jaisree enjoys artistic endeavors such as clay modeling and painting, as well as playing tennis and traveling.
Jaisree received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her B. Tech. in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology.
Kayla Kroll’s pursuit of a career in science began with an interest in stars and the solar system, never expecting she would one day be focused on what happens beneath Earth’s surface instead. Speaking about her shift from the solar system to the subsurface, Kayla says, “I liked how seismology and geophysics combined physics with data generated from earthquakes to understand what’s going on beneath our feet and provide images of Earth’s interior — the way a CT or MRI scan provides images from inside the human body.”
Now a research scientist and seismology deputy group leader within the Atmospheric, Earth and Energy Division, Kayla integrates the principles of geomechanics (the science of how geological material deforms) and seismology to model induced seismicity — earthquakes caused by external stress imposed on the subsurface from anthropogenic activities such as hydrocarbon extraction, carbon storage and geothermal energy production. Kayla is enthusiastic about the opportunities for growth and the support she has received from her colleagues and leaders. “Both my mentors and division leadership trusted me to take on new levels of responsibility that helped me grow into a scientist who can lead research teams, as well as one who can effectively communicate about her work.”
Kayla earned her Ph.D. and M.S. in geophysics and seismology at University of California, Riverside, and her B.S. in geological science at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California.
Katie Lundquist is a researcher in the Computational Engineering Division’s Data Analytics and Decision Sciences Section and a member of the Turbulence Analysis & Simulation Center (TASC).
Katie’s research interests are broad within the areas of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and scientific computing, and she is particularly interested the application of CFD to both environmental and engineering problems. Specific interests include atmospheric and Earth system modeling, transport and dispersion, multi-scale multi-physics model development, turbulence, large-eddy simulation, immersed boundary methods, physics parameterizations and aerodynamics.
Katie is a member of the American Physical Society (APS) and of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). She earned her Ph.D. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and her B.S. in mechanical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.
Christina Morency's career path was not linear, and she encourages early career scientists to explore a wide range of disciplines and research areas. She began as a chemical engineer, then earned a doctoral degree in geophysics exploring geodynamical modeling involving Earth’s mantle convection. Her subsequent postdoc and research associate positions motivated her to change focus. Initially, she worked on modeling tectonic deformation at the crustal scale, then she dove into exploring Earth’s subsurface.
Today, Christina investigates using seismic and electromagnetic modeling to conduct geophysical imaging and monitoring of the subsurface — with a focus on exploring energy and environmental issues. She leads a multidisciplinary research team that is evaluating the possibility of monitoring geothermal resources using seismoelectric effects — subsurface, pore-scale phenomena related to seismic-to-electric conversion.
Christina is also involved in two of LLNL’s employee resource groups, and is passionate about ensuring that LLNL continues to benefit from a diverse, inclusive work environment. She’s a member of LLNL’s African American Body of Lab Employees (ABLE) group and serves on the leadership team of the LLNL Pride group. She received the LLNL Director’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award for work on pronoun usage in the workplace in 2021.
Christina completed her education in France, including a Ph.D. in geophysics
Our Latest News
Our Current Projects
Earth and atmospheric research at LLNL spans multiple areas where our scientists collaborate with colleagues and leverage world-class research tools to explore how to make our planet safer and more resilient.
Our geoscientists analyze seismic signals to differentiate between natural phenomena such as earthquakes, man-made activities like mining and illicit nuclear explosions. This work supports our nation’s efforts to detect and deter the spread of nuclear weapons and verify international agreements. Our research teams develop new methods to analyze data provided by seismometer networks, enabling them to determine the type of event that generated the seismic signals as well as the energy release of the event.
We play a key role in one of the most powerful climate modeling tools available — the Department of Energy’s Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM). E3SM links Earth system and energy models into a single system, enabling a better understanding of the future impact to U.S. energy resources from changes in complex ecosystems. For example, using supercomputers to analyze billions of data points, researchers study how air and water temperature changes can strain energy grids or how floods and droughts can affect power plant operations.
We explore the stratosphere through observational data that can validate models to better understand high-altitude dynamics. Analyzing atmospheric tracers, researchers measure small-scale turbulence at high altitudes affecting the performance and payloads of hypersonic aircraft and re-entry vehicles. Work to develop a satellite-based sensing instrument to make in situ measurements complements related efforts to collect aerosols using stratospheric balloons; analyzing isotopes in the aerosols helps researchers better understand atmospheric motion.
Our Facilities, Centers and Institutes
The Laboratory is home to several state-of-the-art facilities and centers to help researchers tackle the hardest and most complex challenges related to earth and atmospheric science.
Center for Mass Spectrometry
CAMS researchers use diverse analytical techniques and state-of-the-art instrumentation to develop and apply ultra-sensitive isotope ratio measurements and ion beam analytical techniques.
National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center
The National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC) helps emergency managers plan and respond to incidents involving the accidental or intentional release of hazardous radiological, chemical, biological or nuclear materials into the atmosphere.
World-class science takes teamwork. Explore the organizations that contribute to our research in earth and atmospheric science by clicking the images below.
Join Our Team
We offer opportunities in a variety of fields, not just science and technology. We are home to a diverse staff of professionals that includes administrators, researchers, creatives, supply chain staff, health services workers and more. Visit our careers page to learn more about the different career paths we offer and find the one that speaks to you. Make your mark on the world!