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Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010


Trees Invading Arctic Will Warm Entire Region, Study Shows

Contrary to scientists' predictions that, as the Earth warms, the movement of trees into the Arctic will have only a local warming effect, scientists modeling this scenario — including Berkeley Lab earth scientist Inez Fung — have found that replacing tundra with trees will melt sea ice and greatly enhance warming over the entire Arctic region. Because trees are darker than the bare tundra, scientists previously have suggested that the northward expansion of trees might result in more absorption of sunlight and a consequent local warming. But they also transpire a lot of water, and water vapor is a greenhouse gas that is well mixed throughout the Arctic. More>

JGI: New Congressman, Garamendi Visits User Facility

aUnited States Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek), member of the House Science and Technology Committee and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, last week conducted a whirlwind tour of the scientific and technological assets in his district including a visit to the Joint Genome Institute (JGI). Garamendi (right) and his staff were briefed by JGI Director Eddy Rubin (left). The delegation also learned about research conducted by post-doctoral fellow Rachel Mackelprang on the potential perils of melting arctic permafrost for the liberation of atmospheric methane — a particularly troublesome greenhouse gas — mediated by microbes that the JGI is characterizing.

Computing: Cosmology Center Becomes Independent Group

lSeveral years ago, the Lab's Physics and Computational Research Divisions formed the Computational Cosmology Center (C3), a collaboration of astrophysicists and computational scientists whose goals are to develop the tools, techniques, and technologies to meet the analysis challenges posed by cosmological data sets. As astronomy is increasingly becoming a data rich science, there are significant new opportunities in the field of computational astrophysics and cosmology for C3 to explore. As such, C3 will now operate as an independent group within the High Performance Computing Research Department in the Computational Research Division.

aEH&S: New Transportation Policy and Procedure Announced

A policy and procedure has been developed to allow Lab staff to move certain types and amounts of research samples, hazardous materials and field sampling materials between buildings on the main site, the main site and other Lab sites (e.g., JGI, JBEI and Potter Street), and between any Lab site and collaborating research parties (e.g., UC Berkeley campus and Stanford). The policy is presented in Pub 3000 Traffic and Transportation, Section 5.8.14. The details and procedures are contained in the Chemical Hygiene and Safety Plan. Questions regarding this policy may be addressed to Don Lucas (x7002).

Guest House: Special Rate Discount in January; Open House Today, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Lab employees who may be hosting guests this month are reminded that the Guest House is offering discounted rates ($19 off the regular price) on their standard rooms and studio suites throughout January. Those who want to learn more about the Guest House and what it has to offer are invited to attend an open house today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

HR Benefits: It's a Fact...

Employees that move out of an HMO, Anthem Blue Cross PLUS, or DeltaCare USA plan service area must transfer themselves and eligible family members into a different medical and/or dental plan in that new area. This includes staff that have relocated to CERN in Switzerland. For more information, contact the Lab’s Benefits group (x6403).

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