Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Earth Sciences Division Staff: William J. Riley

William Riley

William J. Riley

Research Scientist

Geochemistry Department



Phone: 510-486-5036

Fax: 510-486-7070



William J. Riley is a scientist in the Climate and Carbon Sciences Program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Dr. Riley is a biogeochemist who studies the natural and anthropogenic carbon and nitrogen cycles, coupled land-surface and atmosphere exchange, and climate change. His work involves using numerical modeling to elucidate mechanisms relevant to ecosystem function, exchanges with the atmosphere, and their interactions and feedbacks. He has published work on land-surface atmosphere feedbacks, the use of isotopes (e.g., 14C, 18O, 15N) as ecosystem tracers, distributed modeling of heterogeneous landscapes, coupled carbon and nitrogen cycling, and fossil-fuel and ecosystem CO2 transport in the atmosphere.


Interactions between the soil, biosphere, and atmosphere that impact carbon and nutrient cycling, hydrological flows, leaching, and trace-gas fluxes important in climate change; environmental fluid mechanics and the interactions between fluid flows and biological processes that affect environmental quality; numerical modeling of coupled hydrological, biological, and atmospheric systems; use of carbon and oxygen isotopes in coupled hydrological and biological systems; and impacts of intensive agriculture.


  • Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 1996.
  • M.S., Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 1993.
  • M.S., Physics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1988.
  • B.S., Aerospace Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1984.


  • Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 2000 through present. My current work focuses on the development and testing of mechanistic models of coupled physical, biological, chemical, and atmospheric processes important in predicting mass (e.g., H2O, CO2, NO, and N2O) and energy balances at the earth’s surface.
  • Lecturer, U.C. Berkeley, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. 1998 – 2006.
  • Postdoctoral Fellow with Pamela Matson, Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley. 1996 through 1999.
  • Ph.D. Dissertation Research with William Nazaroff, University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 1993 through 1996.
  • Physics Graduate Research Assistant, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1986 through 1988.


  • American Western Universities Graduate Student Fellowship, 1996.
  • Air and Waste Management Association Academic Scholarship, 1995.
  • Sigma Pi Sigma - National Physics Honor Society, 1987.
  • Graduated Cum Laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1984.
  • Tau Beta Pi - National Engineering Honor Society, 1981.
  • Sigma Gamma Tau - National Aerospace Engineering Honor Society, 1981.


  •  PI: DOE, 2010-2013
  • Co-I: NASA, 2005-2008.
  • Co-I: LDRD for Berkeley Water Center, 2006-2007.
  • PI: California Energy Commission, 2005-2006.
  • Co-I: California Energy Commission, 2003-2004.
  • Co-I: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2004-2005.
  • PI: Laboratory Directed Research & Development Program, 2001-2003.
  • Co-I: National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, 2002-2005.
  • Co-I: National Science Foundation, 2001-2004.
  • Co-I: Department of Energy, 2002-2005.
  • Co-I: California Energy Commission, 2003.


  • University of California, Berkeley. Spring, 2006. Lecturer for the upper division class Climate Change Mitigation  (CEE107).
  • University of California, Berkeley. Spring, 2003. Lecturer for the upper division class Introduction to Environmental Engineering  (CEE111).
  • San Francisco State University. Spring, 2001. Lecturer for the graduate level class Air Quality Engineering (ENGR 866)
  • University of California, Berkeley. Spring, 2000. Lecturer for the upper division class Elementary Fluid Mechanics  (CEE100).
  • University of California, Berkeley. Fall, 1999. Lecturer for the lower division class Introduction to Computer Programming for Scientists and Engineers (E77N).
  • University of California, Berkeley. Spring, 1999. Lecturer for the upper division class Elementary Fluid Mechanics  (CEE100).
  • University of California, Berkeley. Fall, 1998. Lecturer for the upper division class Elementary Fluid Mechanics  (CEE100).


  • External co-chair, NCAR Community Land Model Working Group, 2013 – present.
  • Technical lead, Terrestrial Earth-System Processes and Energy-Climate Interactions in the Climate and Earth System Modeling SFA, 2009 – present.
  • Technical lead, Atmospheric Systems Research SFA, 2010 – present.
  • Contributing author, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment, 2011 – Present.
  • Member, NSF Permafrost Research Coordination Network, 2011 – present.
  • Participant, International Land Model Benchmarking Project, 2011 – present.
  • Proposal Reviewer: DOE, NSF
  • Journal Reviewer: JGR-Biogeosciences, JGR-Atmospheres, Advances in Water Resources, Biogeosciences, Plant, Cell, and Environment, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Geochemica et Cosmochimica Acta, Global Change Biology, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Tellus
  • Member: NCAR Land-Model and Biogeochemistry Working Groups, 2007 – present.
  • Member: ARM cloud model working group
  • Contributor: DOE workshop on designing “Climate Change Experiments in High-Latitude Ecosystems”