Researchers look through microscopes at damage to fish by rapid decompression.

PNNL's Earth Systems Science Division enables energy independence and national security through leadership in earth systems science, engineering, and decision analytics. We solve complex problems in the dynamic Earth system.

Our research focuses on understanding and mitigating operational risks at the interface of human and natural environments. Scientists and engineers on our team steward a breadth of expertise that provide the foundational knowledge necessary to develop and implement applied solutions in:

Earth Systems Predictability and Resiliency

  • Predicting the impacts of natural hazards - wildfire, hurricane, drought, and flooding impacts, as well as extreme climate events on Earth and human systems
  • Providing geointelligence through advanced sensing and data analytics to forecast complex system behaviors and operational performance to understand human-natural systems

Environmental Stewardship and Energy Resources

  • Advancing renewable energy such as hydropower, geothermal, solar and wind, as well as fossil energy, nuclear energy, and hydrogen
  • Stewarding the Earth through environmental remediation, carbon sequestration, and water resource sustainability and resiliency

National Security

  • Protecting cyber physical infrastructure and water resources
  • Deterring the spread of nuclear weapons

Top News

MAY 10, 2022

Environmental Justice for All

To support federal energy agencies in meeting renewed environmental policies, PNNL is identifying the mechanisms and practices that could enhance agencies’ existing environmental justice programs, policies, and activities.

Earth Systems Science Projects and Tools


The Hydropower and Water Innovation for a Resilient Electricity System (HydroWIRESinitiative is designed to clarify hydropower's role in the modern grid infrastructure and to explore oppoortunities for optimizing grid operations.

Donald Jorgensen/PNNL

Photo of Earth from NASA satellite

This image from NASA depicts a full view of the Earth, taken by the Geostationary Operational Environment Satellite (GOES-8). The red and green charnels represent visible data, while the blue channel represents inverted 11 micron infrared data. 

(Image courtesy of National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA])