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Secretary Moniz Announces Dr. Phil Sharp As 2015 Recipient Of Schlesinger Medal For Energy Security

on December 23, 2015 - 7:24am
Dr. Phil Sharp
DOE News:
WASHINGTON  U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz has announced Dr. Phil Sharp as the second recipient of the James R. Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security.
Dr. Sharp is president of Resources for the Future and a former U.S. Congressman from Indiana. Dr. Sharp will receive the medal at a ceremony at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 20, at the Department of Energy headquarters (1000 Independence Ave. Washington, D.C. 20585).
“Phil Sharp has been a fixture in energy security and clean energy progress in every possible arena for the past five decades,” Moniz said.

Midday Solstice Celebration At PEEC Today

on December 22, 2015 - 8:31am
Dave Yeamans on the human sundial. Photo by Rebecca Shankland


Stop by the Los Alamos Nature Center at noon today and enjoy a midday solstice celebration.

Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) will get out its measuring sticks and mark shadow lengths on the human sundial to document the longest midday shadows of the year. This short celebration will be the first in a series of measurements to see how shadow lengths change over the course of a year.

PEEC was founded in 2000 to serve the community of Los Alamos.

Commission For Environmental Cooperation Taps Brumwell To Chair Joint Public Advisory Committee

on December 21, 2015 - 8:18am
CEC News:
MONTREAL — The Commission for Environmental Cooperation's (CEC) Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) has chosen Canadian JPAC member Lindsay Brumwell as committee chair for 2016.

She will succeed Mexican JPAC member Gustavo Alanís-Ortega, a lawyer and university professor at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, who has been chair during 2015.

“The Commission for Environmental Cooperation is increasingly relevant as a force for trinational cooperation on environmental issues,” Brumwell said.

PEEC Events For January 2016

on December 21, 2015 - 7:43am
PEEC News:
Saturday, Jan. 2
Feature Film: Sea Monsters, A Prehistoric Adventure
See prehistoric sea creatures come to life and follow fossil hunters to remote locations as they excavate the remains of some of the most awe-inspiring creatures of all time. 2 p.m. Suitable for ages 4 and up. $6 per adult, $4 per child. More information at
Sunday, Jan. 3
Feature Film: Sea Monsters, A Prehistoric Adventure
See prehistoric sea creatures come to life and follow fossil hunters to remote locations as they excavate the remains of some of the most awe-inspiring creatures of all

Udall, Heinrich, Luján Include Provision To Support Gold King Mine Monitoring In Year End Legislation

on December 20, 2015 - 7:17am

Congressional News:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, the lead Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján announced that they included a provision in the end-of-year appropriations bill that encourages the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct long-term monitoring efforts following the Gold King Mine blowout.

The accident spilled toxic wastewater into the Animas and San Juan rivers in New Mexico and Colorado.

Sea Monsters At Nature Center Starting Saturday

on December 18, 2015 - 9:01am

DOE: Largest Energy-Saving Standard In History

on December 17, 2015 - 11:05am

DOE News:
  • Commercial Air Conditioner and Furnace Standards Will Save Businesses $167 Billion and Cut Carbon Emissions by 885 Million Metric Tons

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy today announced historic new efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and furnaces. Developed with industry, utilities, and environmental groups, these standards will save more energy than any other standard issued by the Department to date.

Over the lifetime of the products, businesses will save $167 billion on their utility bills and carbon pollution will be reduced by 885 million

LANL's New Model More Accurately Tracks Gases For Underground Nuclear Explosion Detection

on December 17, 2015 - 11:04am

This model sequentially couples a hydrodynamic rock damage code to a gas transport simulator via a translation between damage results and hydrogeologic parameters and stochastic sampling for uncertain hydrogeologic parameters. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a new, more thorough method for detecting underground nuclear explosions (UNEs) by coupling two fundamental elements—seismic models with gas-flow models—to create a more complete picture of how an explosion’s evidence (radionuclide gases) seep to the surface.

Their findings will

Los Alamos Nature Center Wins Regional Architecture Awards

on December 17, 2015 - 9:58am

The Los Alamos Nature Center. Photo by Patrick Coulie

PEEC News:

The Los Alamos Nature Center building and design team were recently given three prestigious regional awards. 

In November ENR-Southwest named the Nature Center its Small Project of the Year (under $10 million) and its Project of the Year (overall). The Nature Center beat out award winning buildings in every category to win this last designation.

More recently, the Nature Center stood out above more than 60 projects from around the state to win one of nine Eagle Awards from the NAIOP, an organization for commercial real

Udall: End-of-Year Legislation Includes Hard-Fought Wins Supporting NM Jobs, Environment

on December 17, 2015 - 9:57am

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall


  • As lead Democrat on Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, Udall blocked harmful anti-environment policy riders

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, ranking Democrat on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, released the following statement Wednesday on the finalized appropriations and tax bills released late last night, which will fund the government for the next year and extend a number of tax provisions.

The U.S.

Chromium Project (DOE/EA-2005) Update

on December 16, 2015 - 9:00pm

DOE News:

  • Final Environmental Assessment, Finding of No Significant Impact and Floodplain Assessment Statement of Findings

The Department of Energy Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office has prepared a Final Environmental Assessment for the Chromium Plume Control Interim Measure and Plume-Center Characterization at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (DOE/EA-2005).

This document describes the potential environmental impacts associated with the planned interim actions in Mortandad Canyon.

Tonight's Talk At Los Alamos Nature Center Canceled

on December 15, 2015 - 12:47pm

PEEC News:

Tonight’s talk at the Los Alamos Nature Center is canceled due to inclement weather.

Check Pajarito Environmental Education Center’s website for updates and future events.

The Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) was founded in 2000 to serve the community of Los Alamos. It offers people of all ages a way to enrich their lives by strengthening their connections to our canyons, mesas, mountains, and skies.

New $7 Million XPRIZE Competition Announced

on December 14, 2015 - 11:45am
SAN FRANCISCO — At a keynote address today during the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco, Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and CEO of XPRIZE, announced the launch of the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, a three-year global competition challenging teams to advance ocean technologies for rapid and unmanned ocean exploration.
As part of the total $7 million prize purse, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is offering a $1M bonus prize to teams that demonstrate their technology can “sniff out” a specified object in the ocean through

Moniz On Conclusion Of COP21 Climate Negotiations

on December 13, 2015 - 1:09pm

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz

DOE News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz released the following statement Saturday regarding the conclusion of the COP21 climate change negotiations:

“This agreement shows that the world is ready to move towards an innovative era of reductions in heat-trapping emissions that will put us on a path to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and the entire U.S.

PEEC Offers Wildlife Storytelling 7 p.m. Tuesday

on December 13, 2015 - 11:32am

Western tanager. Courtesy/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

PEEC News:

Where do animals go in the winter? If they stay, how do they cope with the cold?

During a talk at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, at the Los Alamos Nature Center, Taos author Steve Tapia will tell the winter preparation stories of three animals. Listen as he describes why the pika is called a savvy survivor, where the western tanager goes to escape winter, and how the ever-present coyote copes with cold.

Steve Tapia is a local author, who resides in Taos.

Morning Snow Scenes From Los Alamos

on December 12, 2015 - 3:52pm

A snowy scene this morning along Diamond Drive. Photo by Leland Lehman/

Snow falls at the intersection of Diamond and Arkansas this morning. Photo by Leland Lehman/

A solitary apple topped with snow this morning hangs onto a branch of this tree growing on Walnut Street. Photo by A.S. Clark


Luján Participates In Gold King Mine Spill Hearing

on December 12, 2015 - 1:12pm
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District participated in a hearing in the Housr Natural Resources Committee on the Department of Interior’s report on the Gold King Mine spill. 
Luján highlighted the importance of ensuring that all those who were impacted by the spill are made whole and the need to take steps to improve the notification process in case of future disasters.
“One of the other failures that took place was after the spill took place.

Snow Falls On Quemazon

on December 12, 2015 - 11:14am

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas as Mulani enjoys a romp in the snow this morning in Quemazon. Photo by Trisha Ancell

Mulani plays in the snow this morning in Quemazon. Photo by Trisha Ancell

Secretary Moniz Announces San Francisco As Site Of Seventh Clean Energy Ministerial

on December 11, 2015 - 8:53am
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
DOE News:
PARIS – U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced that the United States will host the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) in San Francisco, California in June 2016.
The announcement was made at an event in Paris during the COP21 UN Climate Negotiations.
The annual meeting of energy ministers and other high-level delegates from the 23 CEM member countries and the European Commission, taking place June 1-2, will provide an opportunity for the major economies to collaborate on solutions that advance

SFI: Mutualism - What Do We Know... Dec. 14

on December 11, 2015 - 8:12am
Judie Bronstein, University of Arizona
SFI News:
The Santa Fe Institute (SFI) seminar, "Mutualism: What Do We Know, and Where Do We Go From Here?" is 12:15 p.m., Monday Dec. 14, at Collins Conference Room in Santa Fe.
Abstract: In this talk, I review the checkered history of the study of mutualism, a field that has only coalesced in the past 20 years.
I will identify six major research directions, then present our own recent work on hawkmoth-plant relationships to show how they can be integrated to move our understanding forward.
I conclude by discussing pressing issues surrounding

WIPP Workers Perform Filter Replacement

on December 10, 2015 - 3:32pm
Radiological workers ready used filters for off-site disposal. Courtesy/WIPP
WIPP News:
As recovery operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant continue, increased work activity in the underground results in higher levels of airborne salt dust, increasing the frequency with which filters are replaced. Last week, workers performed a filter replacement on WIPP’s Underground Ventilation System.
WIPP’s ventilation system has two filter units. Each unit has 84 separate filters arranges in four layersmoderate efficiency filters, high efficiency filters, and two layers of HEPA

Rain, Snow, Wind And Colder Weather Returning

on December 10, 2015 - 3:08pm

NWS News:

The National Weather Service in Albuquerque has issued a weather advisory for northern and central New Mexico favoring the northern mountains, northeast highlands and maybe far northeast plains.

Strong to potentially damaging winds are expected, followed by wintry weather beginning late tonight through Saturday night. Key Impacts:

  • Significant cool down from near record highs Thursday-Friday to 5 to 15 degree below normal temperatures during the weekend.
  • Snow accumulations Friday night through Saturday night favoring the Colorado border area with secondary impacts to the

PEEC Amateur Naturalist: Insect Camouflage

on December 10, 2015 - 10:54am
Los Alamos

Insects have different kinds of camouflage to hide themselves. A praying mantis may grow to be up to six inches long, but how many people have seen such a large one?

A praying mantis may be so well camouflaged that it can capture a hummingbird that is coming to a flower for nectar.

A praying mantis selects plants that match its color rather than changing its color to match a plant.

Brown praying mantis. Courtesy photos






Rosy praying mantis. Courtesy photos






Green praying mantis. Photo by Sally King/Bandelier






Ceres’ Bright Spots Likely Brine Deposits

on December 10, 2015 - 10:20am

This image, made using images taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, shows Occator crater on Ceres, home to a collection of intriguing bright spots. The bright spots are much brighter than the rest of Ceres' surface, and tend to appear overexposed in most images. This view is a composite of two images of Occator: one using a short exposure that captures the detail in the bright spots, and one where the background surface is captured at normal exposure.

Planetarium Showing 'Exoplanets' Film This Weekend

on December 9, 2015 - 11:42am

Exoplanets poster. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

Pajarito Environmental Education Center is bringing Exoplanets back to the Los Alamos Nature Center Planetarium at 2 p.m., Dec. 12 and Dec. 13.

Exoplanets takes audiences on a journey to observeplanets beyond our solar systemand uncover the science and astronomy behind their discovery. This full-dome film was produced by Casper Planetarium.

Tickets may be purchased by phone or at the nature center for $6 for adults and $4 for children. This movie is recommended for ages four and up. The movie starts promptly at 2 p.m. and seating is limited.