U.S. Department of Energy Awards $14 Million to Improve Climate Change Predictions

U.S. Department of Energy Announces Up to $400 Million for Basic Research to Advance the Frontiers of Science

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $14 million in funding for 22 projects aimed at improving climate change predictions. As extreme weather events and impacts of climate change continue to escalate, the research projects will advance fundamental scientific understanding of atmospheric processes, ranging from cloud formation to Arctic weather. Expanding the scientific understanding of extreme weather and climate patterns is key to tackling the climate crisis and meeting President Biden’s climate goals like slashing greenhouse-gas emissions. 

“Climate-fueled weather events from drought, to fires, to hurricanes, and polar vortices are becoming more common and more intense and wreaking havoc on our communities,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.“We must expand our understanding of changing weather patterns and equip scientists, researchers, and lawmakers with every possible tool to tackle the climate crisis. President Biden and DOE are committed to protecting American communities from extreme weather events and fighting climate change through critical investments in science and research that illuminate pathways to decarbonization and broaden our scientific foundation.” 

The 22 projects that received DOE awards are spread across 11 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada and will be conducted by faculty at 18 universities and two research organizations. The projects focus on, for example, how clouds interact with aerosols, tiny particles suspended in the atmosphere such as volcanic ash and sea salt; how aerosols interact with thunderstorms;  and how clouds and aerosols impact the amount of solar energy that reaches the Arctic and Antarctic surfaces.

The data and analysis from these projects will help improve prediction and understanding of the atmosphere, which is essential to addressing President Biden’s goal of achieving a 50-52% reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030. The President is also focused on helping communities mitigate damage from climate change, and, in 2021, the Biden Administration announced nearly $5 billion in funding to help communities prepare for extreme weather and climate-related disasters. 

The awards announced today were chosen by competitive peer review from proposals submitted to a funding opportunity under the Atmospheric System Research program, sponsored by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER), within the Department’s Office of Science.

Funding totals $14 million in Fiscal Year 2022 dollars for projects lasting three years. A list of projects can be found at the BER website.