Charuleka Varadharajan

Earth and Environmental Sciences Area at Berkeley Lab
Launch Team
Charuleka Varadharajan

Charu is a scientist in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area at Berkeley Lab and leads its Earth AI and data program. She has dedicated her career to environmental sustainability and climate resilience, having experienced first-hand the challenges of water insecurity in drought-prone regions of the world. She has cross-disciplinary expertise in hydrology, biogeochemistry, data science and informatics with experience using computational, field, and laboratory methods in her research. She brings together her technical knowledge, leadership and community-building abilities to understand and solve complex Earth science problems. For example, she has used data-driven methods to study how river water quality is affected by extreme events, discover how methane is released from lakes, perform scientific assessments of the impacts of well stimulation (hydraulic fracturing) on water resources in California, and predict groundwater levels using machine learning for optimal water management. She is a passionate champion and practitioner of open data, and is leading data management efforts in signature U.S. Department of Energy research including its ESS-DIVE data repository. . Charu earned her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and conducted her postdoctoral research at Berkeley Lab. She is a research affiliate with the Berkeley Institute of Data Sciences, a DOE Early Career awardee, and a recipient of the Berkeley Lab Director’s award for exceptional early career scientific achievement in the area of data science for Earth and environmental science.