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Richard Stephen Middleton

Richard Middleton

Phone (505) 665-8332


  • Computational Physics and Applied Mathematics
  • Algorithms
  • Applied Math
  • Uncertainty analysis
  • Network modeling
  • Earth and Space Sciences
  • Geoscience
  • Hydrology
  • Plant ecology
  • Geology
  • Remote sensing
  • Climate modeling
  • Ecosystem dynamics
  • Information Science and Technology
  • Visualization
  • Network design
  • Network modeling



  • Lead developer for SimCCS: Scalable Infrastructure Model for CO2 Capture and Storage
  • Computationally-efficient reduced models for CO2 sequestration engineering and economics.
  • Integrated wind energy optimization (SimWIND): wind farm deployment, transmission development, and end-user connections.
  • Watershed design for dedicated energy crops and biofuels processing.
  • Unconventional and novel oil & gas production (e.g., CO2 as working fluid for hydraulic fracturing).


  • Critical watersheds: impact of extreme & novel climate and disruptive events on ecohydrology and water supply.
  • Climate-driven disturbances including hot-droughts, wildfire, and insect infestations.
  • Ecohydrology in a no-analog future.
  • Climate, water, and food security.


  • 2014 National Climate Assessment: lead author and steering committee member for energy-water-land interactions technical input report.
  • Integrated watershed design: hydrology, land use, and energy.


  • Open source GIS development
  • Multi-core GIS data modeling



Ph.D. (2006) University of California at Santa Barbara, Geography and Operations Research

M.Sc. (1999) University of Leicester, Geographical Information Science

B.Sc. (1996) Lancaster University, Geography


LANL Positions

Deputy Group Leader (Computational Earth Science), 2017 to present

Senior Scientist, 2016 to present

Team Leader (Applied Terreastrial, Energy, and Atmospheric Modeling; ATEAM), 2016 to 2017

Research Scientist, 2009 to 2016



Google Scholar

  1. Middleton, R.S., Yaw, S. (2018). The cost of getting CCS wrong: Uncertainty, infrastructure design, and stranded CO2, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 70, 1-11.
  2. Atchley, A.L., Kinoshita, A.M., Lopez, S.R., Trader, L., Middleton, R.S. (2018). Simulating Surface and Subsurface Water Balance Changes Due to Burn Severity, Vadose Zone Journal, In Press.
  3. Solander, K.C., Bennett, K.E., Fleming, S.W., Gutzler, D.S., Hopkins, E.M., Middleton, R.S. (2018). Interactions between Climate Change and Complex Topography Drive Observed Streamflow Changes in the Colorado River Basin, Journal of Hydrometeorology 19, 1637–1650.
  4. Bennett, K.E., Bohn, T.J., Solander, K., McDowell, N.G., Xu, C., Vivoni, E., Middleton, R.S. (2018). Climate-driven disturbances in the San Juan River sub-basin of the Colorado River. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 22, 709-725.
  5. Bennett, K.E., Urrego Blanco, J.R., Jonko, A., Bohn, T.J., Atchley, A., Urban, N.M., Middleton, R.S. (2018). Global Sensitivity of Simulated Water Balance Indicators Under Future Climate Change in the Colorado Basin. Water Resources Research 54, 132-149.
  6. McDowell, N.G., Michaletz, S., Bennett, K.E., Solander, K.C., Xu, C., Maxwell, R., Allen, C., Middleton, R.S. (2018). Predicting chronic climate-driven disturbances and their mitigation, Trends in Ecology and Evolution 33, 15–27.
  7. An, J., Li, Y., Middleton, R.S. (2018) Reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions of magnesia refractory products: A life-cycle perspective, Journal of Cleaner Production 182, 363–371.
  8. Goodsman, D.W., Grosklos, G., Aukema, B.H., Whitehouse, C., Bleiker, K.P., McDowell, N.G., Middleton, R.S., Xu, C. (2018) The effect of warmer winters on the demography of an outbreak insect is hidden by intraspecific competition, Global Change Biology 24, 3620–3628.
  9. Bielicki, J.M., Langenfeld, J.K., Tao, Z., Middleton, R.S., Menefee, A.H., Clarens, A.C. (2018). The Geospatial and Economic Viability of CO2 Storage in Hydrocarbon Depleted Fractured Shale Formations, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 75, 8–23.
  10. Dai, Z., Zhang, Y., Bielicki, J.M., Amooie, M.A., Zhang, M., Yang, C., Zou, Y., Ampomah, W., Xiao, T., Jia, W., Middleton, R.S., Zhang, W., Sun, Y., Moortgat, J., Soltanian, M.R., Stauffer, P.H. (2018). Heterogeneity-assisted carbon dioxide storage in marine sediments, Applied Energy 225, 876-883.
  11. Goodsman, D.W., Aukema, B.H., McDowell, N.G., Middleton, R.S., Xu, C. (2018) Incorporating variability in simulations of seasonally forced phenology using integral projection models, Ecology and Evolution 8, 162–175.
  12. Middleton, R.S., Gupta, R., Hyman, J.D., Viswanathan, H.S. (2017). The shale gas revolution: Barriers, sustainability, and emerging opportunities, Applied Energy 199, 88–95.
  13. Solander, K.C., Bennett, K.E., Middleton, R.S. (2017). Shifts in historical streamflow extremes in the Colorado River Basin, Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies 12, 363–377.
  14. Solander, K.C., Reager, J.T., Wada, Y., Famiglietti, J.S., Middleton, R.S. (2017). GRACE satellite observations reveal the severity of recent water over-consumption in the United States, Scientific Reports 7, 1–8.
  15. Harp, D.R., Stauffer, P.H., O’Malley, D., Jiao, Z., Egenolf, E.P., Miler, T.A., Martinez, D., Hunter, K.A., Middleton, R.S., Bielicki, J.M, Pawar. P. (2017) Development of robust pressure management strategies for geologic CO2 sequestration, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 64, 43–59.
  16. Dai, Z., Zhang, Y., Stauffer, P.H., Tiao, T., Zhang, M., Ampomah, W., Yang, C., Zhou, Y., Ding, M., Middleton, R.S., Reza Soltanian, M., Bielicki, J.M. (2017) Injectivity Evaluation for Offshore CO2 Sequestration in Marine Sediments, Energy Procedia 114, 2921–2932.
  17. Langenfeld, J.K., Bielicki, J.M., Tao, Z., Middleton, R.S., Menefee, A.H., Clarens, A.F. (2017) Response of Integrated CO2 Capture and Storage Systems in Saline Aquifers and Fractured Shale Formations to Changes in CO2 Capture Costs, Energy Procedia 114, 4099–4105.
  18. Hunter, K., Bielicki, J.M., Middleton, R.S., Stauffer, P.H., Pawar, R., Harp, D., Martinez, D. (2017) Integrated CO2 Storage and Brine Extraction, Energy Procedia 114, 6331–6336.
  19. Ellet, K.M., Middleton, R.S., Stauffer, P.H., Rupp, J.A. (2017) Facilitating CCS business planning by extending the functionality of the SimCCS integrated system model, Energy Procedia 114, 6526–6535.
  20. Middleton, R.S., Levine, J.S., Bielicki, J.M, Stauffer, P.H. (2017) Industrial CO2 and carbon capture: near-term benefit, long-term necessity, Energy Procedia 114, 7601-7605.
  21. Dai, Z., Viswanathan, H., Middleton, R.S., Pan, F., Ampomah, W., Yang, C., Jia, W., Xiao, T., Lee, S., McPherson, B., Balch, R., Grigg, R., White, M. (2016). CO2 Accounting and Risk Analysis for CO2 Sequestration at Enhanced Oil Recovery Sites, Environmental Science and Technology 50, 7546–7554.
  22. Skurikhin, A.N., McDowell, N.G., Middleton, R.S. (2016). Unsupervised individual tree crown detection in high–resolution satellite imagery, Journal of Applied Remote Sensing 10, 1–7.
  23. Middleton, R.S., Carey, J.W., Currier, R.P., Hyman, J.D., Kang, Q., Karra, S. Jiménez-Martínez, J., Porter, M.L., Viswanathan, H.S. (2015). Shale gas and non-aqueous fracturing fluids: Opportunities and challenges for supercritical CO2, Applied Energy 147, 500–509.
  24. Middleton, R.S., Levine, J.S., Bielicki, J.M., Viswanathan, H.S., Carey, J.W., Stauffer, P.H. (2015). Jumpstarting commercial‐scale CO2 capture and storage with ethylene production and enhanced oil recovery in the US Gulf, Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology 5, 241–253.
  25. Person, M.A., Kelley, S.A., Kelley, R.E., Karra, S., Harp, D.R., Witcher, J., Bielicki, J.M., Sutula, G., Pepin, J.D., Middleton, R.S. (2015). Hydrogeologic Windows: Detection of Blind and Traditional Geothermal Play Fairways in Southwestern New Mexico Using Conservative Element Concentrations and Advective-Diffusive Solute Transport GRC Transactions 39, 751–759.
  26. Bielicki, J.M., Middleton, R.S., Levine, J.S., Stauffer, P.H. (2014). An alternative pathway for stimulating regional deployment of carbon dioxide capture and storage, Energy Procedia 63, 7215–7224.
  27. Middleton, R.S., Viswanathan, H.S., Currier, R.P., Gupta, R. (2014) CO2 as a fracturing fluid: Potential for commercial-scale shale gas production and CO2 sequestration, Energy Procedia 63, 7780–7784.
  28. Stauffer, P.H., Middleton, R.S., Bing, B., Ellett, K.M., Rupp, J., Xiaochun, L. (2014). System integration linking CO2 Sources, Sinks, and Infrastructure for the Ordos Basin, China, Energy Procedia 63, 2702–2709.
  29. Bielicki, J.M., Clarens, A.F., Middleton, R.S., Liu, X., Levine, J.S., Barbosa de Carvalho, M., Giovanini Junior, N. (2014). Shifting Sands in a CO2 Desert: Replacing Extracted CO2 with Byproduct CO2 for Use in Enhanced Oil Recovery Energy Procedia 63, 6557–6564.
  30. Middleton, R.S., Clarens, A.F., Liu, X., Bielicki, J.M, Levine, J.S., (2014). CO2 deserts: Implications of existing CO2 supply limitations for carbon management, Environmental Science & Technology 48, 11713–11720.
  31. Dai, Z., Viswanathan, H.S, Fessenden-Rahn, J., Middleton, R.S., Pan, F., Jia, W., Lee, S., McPherson, B., Ampomah, W., Grigg, R. (2014). Uncertainty Quantification for CO2 Sequestration and Enhanced Oil Recovery, Energy Procedia 63, 7685–7693.
  32. Dai, Z., Stauffer, P.H., Carey, J.W., Middleton, R.S., Lu, Z., Jacobs, J.F., Hnottavange-Telleen, K., Spangler, L.H. (2014). Pre-site characterization risk analysis for commercial-scale carbon sequestration, Environmental Science & Technology 48, 3908–3915.
  33. Bielicki, J.M., Callas, G., Middleton, R.S., Ha-Duong, M. (2014). National Corridors for Climate Change Mitigation: Managing Industrial CO2 Emissions in France, Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology 4, 262–277.
  34. Dai, Z., Middleton, R.S., Viswanathan, H., Fessenden-Rahn, J., Bauman, J., Pawar, R., Lee, S.-Y., McPherson, B. (2014) An Integrated framework for optimizing CO2 sequestration and enhanced oil recovery, Environmental Sciences and Technology Letters 1, 49–54 .
  35. Middleton, R.S. and Eccles, J.K., (2013). Fracking, renewables, and natural gas power: the complex future of carbon capture and storage, Applied Energy 108, 66–73.
  36. Middleton, R.S. and Brandt, A.R., (2013). Using infrastructure optimization to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands extraction and processing, Environmental Science and Technology 47, 1735–1744.
  37. Middleton, R.S. (2013). A new optimization approach to energy network modeling: anthropogenic CO2 capture coupled with enhanced oil recovery, International Journal of Energy Research 37, 1794–1810.
  38. Sullivan, E.J., Chu, S., Stauffer, P.H., Middleton, R.S., Pawar, R.J. (2013). A method and cost model for treatment of water extracted during geologic CO2 sequestration, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 12, 372–381.
  39. Middleton, R.S., Kuby, M.J., Wei, R., Keating, G.N., and Pawar, R.J., (2012) A dynamic model for optimally phasing in CCS infrastructure, Environmental Modeling and Software 37, 193–205.
  40. Middleton, R.S., Keating, G.N., Stauffer, P.H., Jordan, A.B., Viswanathan, H.S., Kang, Q., Sullivan, E.J., Chu, S.P., Carey, J.W., Mulkey, M.L., Esposito, R.A., Meckel, T.A. (2012). The cross-scale science of CO2 capture and storage: from pore scale to regional scale, Energy and Environmental Science 5, 7328–7345.
  41. Middleton, R.S., Keating, G.N., Stauffer, P.H., Viswanathan, H.S., and Pawar, R.J. (2012). The effect of geologic reservoir uncertainty on CCS infrastructure, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 8, 132–142.
  42. Phillips, B., and Middleton, R.S. (2012). SimWIND: A Geospatial Infrastructure Model for Optimizing Wind Power Generation and Transmission, Energy Policy 43, 291–302.
  43. Parish, E.S., Hilliard, M.R., Baskaran, L.M., Dale, V.H., Griffiths, N.H., Mulholland, P.J., Sorokine, A., Downing, M.E., Middleton, R.S., and Thomas, N.A. (2012). Multimetric spatial optimization of bioenergy crops across a watershed, Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining 6, 58–72.
  44. Middleton, R.S., Kuby, M.J., and Bielicki, J.M. (2012). Generating candidate networks for optimization: the CO2 capture and storage optimization problem, Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems 36, 18–29.
  45. Stauffer, P.H., Keating, G.N., Middleton, R.S., Viswanathan, H.S., Berchtold, K.A., Singh, R.P., Mancino, A., Pawar, R.J., (2011) Greening coal: breakthroughs and challenges of CCS. Environmental Science and Technology 45, 8597–8604.
  46. Kuby, M., Bielicki, J.M., and Middleton, R.S. (2011). Optimal spatial deployment of carbon dioxide capture and storage given a price on carbon dioxide, International Regional Science Review 34, 285–305.
  47. Middleton, R.S., Bielicki, J.M., Keating, G.N., and Pawar, R.J. (2011). Jumpstarting CCS using refinery CO2 for enhanced oil recovery, Energy Procedia 4, 2185–2191.
  48. Keating, G.N., Middleton, R.S., Stauffer, P.H., and Pawar, R.J. (2011). How storage uncertainty will drive CCS infrastructure, Energy Procedia 4, 2393–2400.
  49. Kuby, M.J., Middleton, R.S., and Bielicki, J.M. (2011). Analysis of cost savings from networking pipelines in CCS infrastructure systems, Energy Procedia 4, 2808–2815.
  50. Keating, G.N., Middleton, R.S., Stauffer, P.H., Viswanathan, H.S., Letellier, B.C., Pasqualini, D., Pawar, R.J., and Wolfsberg, A.V. (2011). Meso-scale carbon sequestration site screening and CCS infrastructure analysis, Environmental Science and Technology 45, 215–222.
  51. Duque, J.C., Church, R.L., and Middleton, R.S. (2011). The p-regions problem, Geographical Analysis 43, 104–126.
  52. Middleton, R.S. and Bielicki, J.M. (2009). A scalable infrastructure model for carbon capture and storage: SimCCS, Energy Policy 37, 1052–1060.
  53. Middleton, R.S. and Bielicki, J.M. (2009). A comprehensive carbon capture and storage infrastructure model, Energy Procedia 1, 1691–1698.
  54. Church, R.L., Scaparra, M.P., and Middleton, R.S. (2004). Identifying critical infrastructure: the median and covering facility interdiction problems, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 94, 491–502.
  55. Fabrikant, S.I., Montello, D.R., Ruocco, M., and Middleton, R.S. (2004). The distance-similarity metaphor in network-display spatializations, Cartography and Geographic Information Science 31, 237–252.
  56. Montello, D.R., Fabrikant, S.I., Ruocco, M., and Middleton, R.S. (2003). Testing the first law of cognitive geography on point-display spatializations, Spatial Information Theory. Foundations of Geographic Information Science 2825, 316–331.