Friday, August 17, 2012

High-tech tool predicts fire behavior in bark beetle-ravaged forests

During the Las Conchas fire of 2011, a Los Alamos resident watches the Jemez Mountains burn.  LANL photo.

Fire fighters facing fast-moving wildfires need better tools to predict erratic fire behavior, especially in forests with dead trees caused by massive outbreaks of bark beetles whose predations create an abundance of dead fuel and changes in the tree canopy structure.

Tools typically available to incident commanders and fire crews are not designed for these potentially highly variable conditions and may not provide accurate fire behavior predictions, scientists have determined. (Full Story)

Lab helps forecast spread of wildfires

KRQE anchor Kim Vallez introduces the story.  From KRQE.         

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have helped create a tool to better predict the movement of wildfires ... LANL scientists along with the U.S. Forest Service have created a high-tech computer model that predicts behavior by looking at all those things plus the affects of bark beetle infestation, drought, heat transfer and the air flow in the fire itself. (Full Story)

NASA is tracking electron beams from the sun

NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) observes a wide array of particles that flow toward Earth from the sun.  NASA illustration.

"People think of the sun as giving out light and heat," says Ruth Skoug, a space scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M. "But it is also always losing particles, losing mass."

Skoug says that each fast-moving electron is by and large constrained to move along magnetic field lines that flow out from the sun, some of which loop back totouch the sun again, others which extend out to the edges of the solar system. (Full Story)

This story also appeared in Science Daily and several other science oriented science blogs.

Obama congratulates Mars Curiosity scientists

The President speaks to the JPL team from Air Force One. NASA image.

Obama spoke by phone from Air Force One as he flew to a campaign stop in Iowa eight days after the car-sized rover landed on the Martian surface. The touchdown followed a complex series of maneuvers involving intricately timed rocket firings

Some of the scientists involved in the project come from the Los Alamos NationalLaboratory. A team of LANL scientists, led by principal investigator Roger Wiens, developed the ChemCam. (Full Story)

Also from the Monitor this week:

Kintzer gains spot on governing board

Norman J. Pattiz, chairman of Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS) and Los AlamosNational Security, LLC (LANS), has named Donald J. Kintzer as an Independent Governor on the LLNS and LANS Boards of Governors.

The LLCs manage Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif. and Los Alamos National Laboratory, respectively, for the U.S. Department of Energy. (Full Story)

LANL’s economic impact: thousands of staffers, millions of dollars

Technical Area 3.  LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory is huge, and so is its economic impact on the seven-county region referred to as northern New Mexico. Sprawling over 36 square miles in Los Alamos County, the lab employs 10,751 people, 6,979 of whom are regular full-time employees.

According to a March 2011 study by the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, LANL’s economic impact in New Mexico totaled 23,641 jobs, $1.6 billion in labor income and $2.9 billion in total economic output. (Full Story)

Farmington Fire Department is a “hazard’ to compete with

Farmington fire fighters with their HAZMAT Challenge trophy. Farmington Daily News photo.

The Farmington Fire Department Hazardous Materials team took second place at the 16th annual HAZMAT Challenge at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The challenge was held from Aug. 7-10 at the laboratory's Technical Area 49 located near Bandelier National Monument. The program provides hazardous materials responders the opportunity to network and learn new response techniques under realistic simulations. (Full Story)

Hazmat teams compete in LANL challenge

LANL’s hazmat team discusses how its going to enter a “contaminated” vehicle.  Monitor photo.

Fire departments and emergency response teams from across the region met in Los Alamos this week to prove who has the best team when it comes to handling emergencies. And not just any emergencies either; encountering mobile meth labs, overturned rail cars full of dangerous chemicals, even clearing passenger buses of suspicious chemicals were just some of the challenges the teams encountered at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s 16th annual Hazmat Challenge. (Full Story)

Edmond hazmat team trains at Los Alamos

HAZMAT team members evacuate a simulated victim. LANL photo.

The training scenarios were part of the Aug. 7-10 Hazmat Challenge, an annual event on the grounds of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The lab is 35 miles northwest of Santa Fe, N.M., on 36 square miles of U.S. Department of Energy-owned property.

“It’s essential for us as training goes,” said Edmond hazmat team coach Lance Morrison. “It’s not about the winning. It’s about the training.” (Full Story)

APS and LANL jointly announce appointment of Eli Ben-Naim as Senior Editor

The American Physical Society and Los Alamos National Laboratory are very pleased to jointly announce that Eli Ben-Naim has been appointed Senior Editor of Physical Review E, the preeminent international journal in statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics. (Full Story)

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