Earth Scientist
Earth Scientist


Ms. Signe White (formerly Wurstner) is an earth scientist with experience in numerical modeling of subsurface systems using multifluid coupled-process simulators. Her research interests focus on developing and using numerical simulators to understand and propose solutions for challenging energy and environmental problems, such as storage of CO2 in subsurface reservoirs, transport of noble gases in the subsurface, production of methane gas hydrates, enhanced geothermal systems, unconventional fossil energy production, and groundwater contamination.

Signe is a member of the development team, a user, and short course instructor for STOMP, PNNL’s premier subsurface, multifluid flow, and transport simulator. Her previous work and other interests include numerical modeling of groundwater flow and transport processes at the Hanford site, total systems risk assessments, geographic information systems, development of aquifer test analysis software, and data management.

Signe previously served as adjunct faculty at Heritage College in Toppenish, WA, and at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, WA. She has been active in various science education and outreach programs over the span of her career. She received the 2002 Fitzner-Eberhardt Award for outstanding contributions to science and engineering education, and the 2004 PNNL Woman of Achievement Award. Signe joined PNNL as a full-time scientist in 1989 after receiving her MS in geology from Indiana University.

Disciplines and Skills

  • Carbon sequestration
  • Data management
  • Geothermal
  • Hydrogeology
  • Multiphase flow modeling
  • Subsurface investigations
  • Subsurface Transport Over Multiple Phases (STOMP)


  • MS in Geology, Indiana University, 1989
  • BS in Geology, Indiana University, 1986
  • Licensed Professional Geologist, State of Washington, LIC#1134
  • Licensed Professional Hydrogeologist, State of Washington, LIC#1134

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • American Geophysical Union
  • Geological Society of America
  • National Ground Water Association

Awards and Recognitions

  • Outstanding Performance Award, Disposition of Surplus Plutonium Environmental Impact Statement (2020)
  • Outstanding Performance Award, Risk Analysis & Modeling for Geologic Sequestration (2017)
  • Outstanding Performance Award, Integrated Disposal Facility Performance Assessment (2015)
  • “Of the Year" Award, FutureGen Underground Injection Control Permit Team (2014)
  • Outstanding Performance Award, FutureGen Underground Injection Control Permit Application (2012)
  • Outstanding Performance Award, Industrial Carbon Capture and Sequestration Proposal (2010)
  • Outstanding Performance Award, Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, Seismic Boreholes Project (2007)
  • Outstanding Performance Award, Contribution to Elementary Science Education (2005)
  • PNNL Woman of Achievement (2004)
  • Fitzner/Eberhardt Award for Outstanding Contributions to Science and Engineering Education (2002)



  • White S.K., S.A. Carroll, S. Chu, D.H. Bacon, R. Pawar, L.J. Cumming, and J.B. Hawkins, et al. 2020. "A Risk-Based Approach to Evaluating the Area of Review and Leakage Risks at CO2 Storage Sites." International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 93. PNNL-SA-142298. doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2019.102884


  • Goldberg D.S., L.M. Aston, A.H. Bonneville, D.I. Demirkanli, C. Evans, A. Fisher, and H. Garcia, et al. 2018. "Geological storage of CO2 in sub-seafloor basalt: the CarbonSAFE pre-feasibility study offshore Washington State and British Columbia." In Carbon in Natural and Engineered Processes: Selected Contributions from the 2018 International Carbon Conference (ICC 2018), September 10-14, 2018, Reykjavik, Iceland: Energy Procedia, edited by C Marieni, et al, 146, 158-165. Amsterdam:Elsevier. PNNL-SA-134038. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2018.07.020


  • Mace E.K., C.E. Aalseth, J.M. Brandenberger, A.R. Day, E.W. Hoppe, P.H. Humble, and M.E. Keillor, et al. 2017. "Methods for Using Argon-39 to Age-Date Groundwater using Ultra-Low-Background Proportional Counting." Applied Radiation and Isotopes 126. PNNL-SA-121026. doi:10.1016/j.apradiso.2016.12.037
  • Williams R.M., C.E. Aalseth, J.M. Brandenberger, A.R. Day, E.C. Finn, E.S. Fuller, and E.W. Hoppe, et al. 2017. "Development of a Low-Level 39Ar Calibration Standard - Analysis by Absolute Gas Counting Measurements Augmented with Simulation." Applied Radiation and Isotopes 126. PNNL-SA-120659. doi:10.1016/j.apradiso.2017.02.018


  • Gilmore T.J., A.H. Bonneville, E.C. Sullivan, M.E. Kelley, D. Appriou, V.R. Vermeul, and S.K. White, et al. 2016. "Characterization and Design of the FutureGen 2.0 Carbon Storage Site." International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 53. PNNL-SA-116762. doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2016.07.022
  • White M.D., R. Podgorney, S.M. Kelkar, M.W. McClure, G. Danko, A. Ghassemi, and P. Fu, et al. 2016. Benchmark Problems of the Geothermal Technologies Office Code Comparison Study. PNNL-26016. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Benchmark Problems of the Geothermal Technologies Office Code Comparison Study
  • White S.K., S.M. Kelkar, and D.W. Brown. 2016. "Bringing Fenton Hill into the Digital Age: Data Conversion in Support of the Geothermal Technologies Office Code Comparison Study Challenge Problems." In 41st Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering, February 22-24, 2016, Stanford, CA, SGP-TR-209. Stanford, California:Stanford University. PNNL-SA-115964.


  • White S.K., S. Purohit, and L.W. Boyd. 2015. "Using GTO-Velo to Facilitate Communication and Sharing of Simulation Results in Support of the Geothermal Technologies Office Code Comparison Study." In Proceedings of the 40th Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering, January 26-28, 2015, Stanford, California, Paper No. SGP-TR-204. Stanford, California:Stanford University. PNNL-SA-107564.


  • Zhang Z.F., S.K. White, A. Bonneville, and T.J. Gilmore. 2014. "Local Sensitivity of Predicted CO2 Injectivity and Plume Extent to Model Inputs for the FutureGen 2.0 site." Energy Procedia 63. PNWD-SA-10392. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2014.11.409


  • Bonneville A., T.J. Gilmore, E.C. Sullivan, V.R. Vermeul, M.E. Kelley, S.K. White, and D. Appriou, et al. 2013. "Evaluating the Suitability for CO2 Storage at the FutureGen 2.0 Site, Morgan County, Illinois, USA." Energy Procedia 37. PNNL-SA-91308. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2013.06.541
  • Scheibe T.D., M.D. White, and S.K. White. 2013. Outcomes of the 2013 GTO Workshop on Geothermal Code Comparison. PNNL-22303. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Outcomes of the 2013 GTO Workshop on Geothermal Code Comparison
  • Scheibe T.D., M.D. White, S.K. White, C. Sivaramakrishnan, S. Purohit, G.D. Black, and R. Podgorney, et al. 2013. "Simulation of Enhanced Geothermal Systems: A Benchmarking and Code Intercomparison Study." In MODFLOW and More 2013: Translating Science into Practice, June 2-5, Golden, Colorado. Golden, Colorado:Integrated Ground Water Modeling Center. PNNL-SA-94774.
  • White M.D., D.H. Bacon, S.K. White, and Z.F. Zhang. 2013. "Fully Coupled Well Models for Fluid Injection and Production." Energy Procedia 37. PNNL-SA-91038. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2013.06.295
  • White S.K., L.J. Gosink, C. Sivaramakrishnan, G.D. Black, S. Purohit, D.H. Bacon, and Z. Hou, et al. 2013. "Implementations of a Flexible Framework for Managing Geologic Sequestration Modeling Projects." Energy Procedia 37. PNNL-SA-91339. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2013.06.296


  • Gorton I., C. Sivaramakrishnan, G.D. Black, S.K. White, S. Purohit, C.S. Lansing, and M.C. Madison, et al. 2012. "Velo: A Knowledge Management Framework for Modeling and Simulation." Computing in Science & Engineering 14, no. 2:12-23. PNNL-SA-81912. doi:10.1109/MCSE.2011.116
  • McGrail B.P., C.J. Freeman, C.F. Brown, E.C. Sullivan, S.K. White, S. Reddy, and R. Garber, et al. 2012. "Overcoming Business Model Uncertainty in a Carbon Dioxide Capture and Sequestration Project: Case Study at the Boise White Paper Mill." International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 9. PNWD-SA-9733. doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2012.03.009
  • White M.D., D.H. Bacon, B.P. McGrail, D.J. Watson, S.K. White, and Z.F. Zhang. 2012. STOMP Subsurface Transport Over Multiple Phases: STOMP-CO2 and STOMP-CO2e Guide: Version 1.0. PNNL-21268. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. STOMP Subsurface Transport Over Multiple Phases: STOMP-CO2 and STOMP-CO2e Guide: Version 1.0


  • Bonneville A., G.D. Black, I. Gorton, P.S. Hui, E.M. Murphy, C.J. Murray, and M.L. Rockhold, et al. 2011. "Geologic Sequestration Software Suite (GS3): a collaborative approach to the management of geological GHG storage projects." In Proceedings of the 10th Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies Conference (GHGT10), September 19-23, 2010, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Energy Procedia, edited by J Gale, C Hendriks W Turkenberg, 4, 3825-3832. Amsterdam:Elsevier. PNNL-SA-74783. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2011.02.318
  • Gandara A.G., G. Chin, P. Pinheiro Da Silva, S.K. White, C. Sivaramakrishnan, and T.J. Critchlow. 2011. "Knowledge Annotations in Scientific Workflows: An Implementation in Kepler." In 23rd Scientific and Statistical Database Management Conference (SSDBM 2011), July 20-22, 2011, Portland, Oregon. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, edited by JB Cushing, J French and S Bowers, 6809, 189-206. Berlin:Springer-Verlag. PNNL-SA-77790. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-22351-8_11
  • Gorton I., C. Sivaramakrishnan, G.D. Black, S.K. White, S. Purohit, M.C. Madison, and K.L. Schuchardt. 2011. "Velo: Riding the Knowledge Management Wave for Simulation and Modeling." In 4th International Workshop on Software Engineering for Computational Science and Engineering (SECSE 2011), Co-located with the 33rd International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2011) May 21-28, 2011, Honolulu, Hawaii, 32-40. New York, New York:Association for Computing Machinery. PNNL-SA-78215. doi:10.1145/1985782.1985788
  • White M.D., B.P. McGrail, H.T. Schaef, J.Z. Hu, D.W. Hoyt, A.R. Felmy, and K.M. Rosso, et al. 2011. "Multiphase Sequestration Geochemistry: Model for Mineral Carbonation." Energy Procedia 4. PNNL-SA-74658. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2011.02.472
  • White M.D., S.K. Wurstner, and B.P. McGrail. 2011. "Numerical studies of methane production from Class 1 gas hydrate accumulations enhanced with carbon dioxide injection." Marine and Petroleum Geology 28, no. 2:546-560. PNWD-SA-8567. doi:10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2009.06.008


  • Gorton I., G.D. Black, K.L. Schuchardt, C. Sivaramakrishnan, S.K. Wurstner, and P.S. Hui. 2010. "GS3: A Knowledge Management Architecture for Collaborative Geologic Sequestration Modeling." In Proceedings of the 43rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 2010). New York, New York:IEEE Computer Society Press. PNNL-SA-67060. doi:10.1109/HICSS.2010.217



  • Nichols W.E., S.K. Wurstner, and P.W. Eslinger. 2007. "Vadose Zone-Attenuated Artificial Recharge for Input to a Ground Water Model." Ground Water 45, no. 4:491-498. PNNL-SA-53280. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6584.2007.00317.x



  • Freedman V.L., Z.F. Zhang, S.R. Waichler, and S.K. Wurstner. 2005. 2005 Closure Assessments for WMA-C Tank Farms: Numerical Simulations. PNNL-15377. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. 2005 Closure Assessments for WMA-C Tank Farms: Numerical Simulations
  • Wurstner S.K., C. Herr, G.L. Andrews, and K. Feaster-Alley. 2005. "Teacher/Scientist Partnership Develops a Simulated Natural Disaster Scenario to Enhance Student Learning." Journal of Geoscience Education 53, no. 5:522-530. PNNL-SA-43348.


  • Dirks J.L., W.E. Nichols, and S.K. Wurstner. 2004. "Improving Modeling of Iodine-129 Groundwater Contamination Plumes Using the System Assessment Capability." Journal of Undergraduate Research IV. PNNL-SA-39311.
  • Eslinger P.W., T.B. Miley, D.W. Engel, W.E. Nichols, L.H. Gerhardstein, D.L. Strenge, and C.A. Lopresti, et al. 2004. User Instructions for the Systems Assessment Capability, Rev. 1, Computer Codes Volume 1: Inventory, Release, and Transport Modules. PNNL-14852 Volume 1. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. User Instructions for the Systems Assessment Capability, Rev. 1, Computer Codes Volume 1: Inventory, Release, and Transport Modules



  • Bergeron M.P., and S.K. Wurstner. 2000. Groundwater Flow and Transport Calculations Supporting the Immobilized Low-Activity Waste Disposal Facility Performance Assessment. PNNL-13400. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Groundwater Flow and Transport Calculations Supporting the Immobilized Low-Activity Waste Disposal Facility Performance Assessment
  • Kincaid C.T., M.P. Bergeron, C.R. Cole, M.D. Freshley, V.G. Johnson, D.I. Kaplan, and R.J. Serne, et al. 2000. "Composite Analysis for Low-Level Waste Disposal in the 200 Area Plateau of the Hanford Site, Southeast Washington." In Environmental Toxicology and Risk Assessment: Recent Achievements in Environmental Fate and Transport Vol. 9; STP 1381, edited by Fred T. Price, Kevin V Brix, and Nancy K. Lane, 104 - 117. West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania:Am. Soc. For Testing and Materials. PNNL-SA-31730.