As a biogeochemist and environmental data scientist, Charu Varadharajan is interested in the water, energy and carbon nexus to understand and limit the impacts of human activities on water resources and climate. Her research has previously involved studying the fate, transport and mitigation of contaminants in groundwater; measurement and prediction of carbon fluxes in terrestrial and subsurface environments; and management, synthesis, and analysis of diverse multi-scale environmental datasets.

Her expertise spans various techniques for data collection and analysis, including laboratory experiments; x-ray synchrotron spectroscopy; sensor-based field data collection; web-based software to integrate distributed datasets in real-time; and the use of geoinformatics, statistical, and wavelet-based data processing to analyze high spatial and temporal resolution data. She has participated in data-driven scientific assessments of well stimulation (hydraulic fracturing) in California performed for federal and state agencies and was part of an expert committee advising the state of California on criteria for monitoring groundwater impacted by well stimulation.

She is currently interested in enhancing LBNL’s environmental data capabilities towards building an environmental knowledge base, in partnership with the Computational Research Division. The knowledge base would have several components including 1) a scalable data archive capable of hosting vastly diverse datasets, 2) data integration using a brokering approach, using the BASIN-3D framework (link coming soon), 3) data QA/QC, processing and analytics using a combination of statistical, data mining, and machine learning approaches, 4) data assimilation tools for model-data integration, and 5) interactive visualizations and narrative interfaces.