Friday, August 8, 2014

Wildfire smoke proves worse for global warming

Wildfire fuel being burned in the fire laboratory at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory.  CMU Photo.

Forest experts generally agree that as climate change makes the world warmer and drier, wildfires will break out more often. This means more destruction of property, more government dollars spent on fire crews and more plumes of nasty, polluting smoke smudging up summer skies.

Manvendra Dubey, senior climate scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, added that climate-warming brown and black carbon particles are found in smoke caused by hot, intensely burning flames—the kind of blazes that are starting to erupt more often. (Full Story)

LANL study: Wildfire smoke’s effect on climate underestimated

The Diego Fire in the Jemez. Journal Photo.

Scientists need to shed their black-and-white view of wildfire smoke and include “brown carbon” in their climate models, researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory report in a new study. The research suggests that smoke from wildfires may contribute to climate change in ways that  scientists have never considered. (Full Story)

Also in the Los Alamos Monitor

Los Alamos probes mysteries of uranium dioxide’s thermal conductivity

Anisotropic thermal conductivity in uranium dioxide. LANL image.

New research at Los Alamos National Laboratory is showing that the thermal conductivity of cubic uranium dioxide is strongly affected by interactions between phonons carrying heat and magnetic spins.

“A deeper understanding of the physics that governs the performance of important engineering materials, such as uranium dioxide, should lead to improvements in efficiency and safety,” said David Andersson, a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist on the project, “which are ultimate goals of the Department of Energy’s program to develop advanced predictive computer models of nuclear reactor performance.” (Full Story)

“SuperCam” instrument adds capabilities to successful ChemCam

SuperCam.  NASA illustration.

NASA announced today that laser technology originally developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory has been selected for its new Mars mission in 2020.

SuperCam builds upon the successful capabilities demonstrated aboard the Curiosity Rover during NASA’s current Mars Mission. SuperCam will allow researchers to sample rocks and other targets from a distance using a laser. In addition to harnessing Los Alamos developed laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) technology.  (Full Story)

Hazmat Challenge is serious business

Team works a scenario at the Hazmat Challenge. LANL photo.

If you thought your week has been challenging due to the unpredictable weather, it was nothing compared to what hazardous material technicians had to face during Los Alamos National Laboratory’s 18th annual Hazmat Challenge.

Facing real-world chemical leak scenarios of all types: indoor, outdoor, overturned trucks, leaking railcars and other challenges, hazmat techs from all over the nation competed at Tech Area 49 this week to see who did the best, and safest job of cleaning up the simulated spills. (Full Story)

LANL employees team with Smith’s on school supplies

Members of LANL Quality Performance Assurance Group teamed up with Smith's Marketplace to provide school supply backpacks. From the Post     

Members of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Quality Performance Assurance Group were at Smith’s Marketplace this morning to join with Smith’s employees in filling backpacks with school supplies.

Each year, LANL conducts a Lab-wide effort to raise funds for the project. Smith's not only provides the Lab with a discount, but this year also donated 28 of the backpacks, QPA Group Leader Ernie Petru said. LANL's 120-member QPA Group spearheaded the drive. (Full Story)

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