Researchers supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Environmental System Science program have earned a prestigious R&D 100 Award for developing the Amanzi–Advanced Terrestrial Simulator (ATS). This powerful multiscale software tool enables scientists to simulate how dynamic flows of surface water and groundwater interact with a complex topographic landscape in environmental systems important to society that are undergoing stresses such as disturbances, population growth, and a changing climate.
Traditionally, modeling tools have focused on only a few environmental processes or subsystems, unable to capture the vast complexity of
natural systems. With Amanzi-ATS, environmental scientists can simulate a wider array of processes and their interplay for a more holistic system understanding. This open-source, open-development software can easily be adapted to address different scales of complexity, allowing researchers to tailor simulations to their questions of interest. Moreover, the flexible code can be run on laptops to supercomputers.
Amanzi provides a flexible and extensible flow and reactive transport simulation capability that runs in parallel and accurately represents complex topography and stratigraphy. ATS builds on Amanzi’s multi-physics framework and toolsets (e.g., mesh infrastructure, discretizations, and solvers). Amanzi-ATS continues to be developed by a team including David Moulton, Rao Garimella, Ethan Coon, Ahmad Jan, and Scott Painter from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory and is being used by modelers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Some research teams have used Amanzi to model contaminant migration at various DOE legacy waste sites. Others have used ATS to explore the impact of disturbances such as wildfire and to model thermal integrated (surface and subsurface) hydrology in polygonal Arctic tundra and surface water and groundwater in mountainous watersheds.
Presented annually since 1963, R&D 100 Awards celebrate the most innovative technologies and ideas of the year. They are widely recognized among industry, government, and academia as the most promising new products, processes, materials, or software developed throughout the world.