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What does “normal” mean anyway?

A closer look at the changes in Lake Michigan’s surface water temperature, ice cover, and water levels

In the Great Lakes region, memories of the brutal winter of 2013-2014 are still fresh in residents’ minds. That winter brought very cold surface water temperatures and high ice cover well into the 2014 spring. Coupled with a record-setting water level surge of nearly three feet between January 2013 and December 2014, people who live along the shore of Lake Michigan have been wondering whether this is the “new normal” for the lake.

NOAA and partners document surge in Great Lakes water levels

Levels expected to stay above-average through winter and spring of 2015

Scientists at the Army Corps of Engineers, Environment Canada, and NOAA recently documented a record-setting surge in water levels on Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron that began in January 2013, and has continued through November 2014. The United States and Canadian federal agencies expect water levels to stay near or above average on all of the Great Lakes over the next six months. 

NOAA Sea Grant awards $2.6 million for new aquaculture projects

Today NOAA Sea Grant is announcing new grants totaling $2.6 million for 15 projects to support the development of environmentally and economically sustainable ocean, coastal, or Great Lakes aquaculture. Through university, state and other partnerships, Sea Grant Programs will supplement the federal funding with an additional $1.4 million in non-federal matching funds, bringing the total investment to about $4 million for new national projects in 2014. These new research projects are in addition to multi-year extension and technology transfer projects selected in FY13.

NOAA Sea Grant Awards $15.9 million for projects to build resilient coastal communities

Federal grants leverage $7.9 million nonfederal match, for total of $23.8 million

NOAA Sea Grant announced today grants totaling $15.9 million to support over 300 projects around the nation that help build resilient coastal communities and economies. Through university, state and other partnerships, Sea Grant Programs will supplement the federal funding with an additional $7.9 million in non-federal matching funds, bringing the total investment to more than $23.8 million.

 

Army Corps hydrologist named new director of NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Deborah H. Lee will bring extensive experience with Great Lakes water resource research and management

Deborah H. Lee, the chief of water management for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, has been named the new director of NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL). Lee is slated to begin on December 1, 2014.

NOAA Seeks Answers to Great Lakes Water Level Changes

Understanding causes helps water managers, planners and overall economy

While people along our nation’s coast experience rising sea levels, residents along the Great Lakes – the Earth’s largest lake system – are adapting to the opposite problem: chronic low water levels and a receding shoreline.

In a perspective now running in Science magazine, Drew Gronewold, a hydrologist at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, says “the record low water levels in Lake Michigan-Huron in the winter of 2012 to 2013 raise important questions about the driving forces behind water level fluctuations and how water resource management planning decisions can be improved.” 

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Popular Research News

Rise of carbon dioxide unabated

Rise of carbon dioxide unabated Read more

Atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at Mauna Loa Observatory reached a seasonal peak of 417.1 parts per million for 2020 in May, the highest monthly reading ever recorded. Monthly CO2 values at Mauna Loa first breached the 400 ppm threshold in 2014, and are now at levels not experienced by the atmosphere in several million years.

NOAA unveils 10-year roadmap for tackling ocean, Great Lakes acidification

Warming influence of greenhouse gases continues to rise, NOAA finds

Warming influence of greenhouse gases continues to rise, NOAA finds Read more

NOAA’s Annual Greenhouse Gas Index tracks the concentrations of greenhouse gases being added to the atmosphere principally from human-caused emissions. The AGGI then calculates the heat being added to Earth's atmosphere and oceans as a result. 

Ocean gliders head to sea to improve hurricane forecasts

Ocean gliders head to sea to improve hurricane forecasts Read more

 

NOAA’s hurricane gliders are heading to sea this week off the coasts of Puerto Rico, the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern U.S. to collect data that scientists will use to improve the accuracy of hurricane forecast models. 

Institute for climate, ocean and ecosystem research announced

Institute for climate, ocean and ecosystem research announced Read more

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today announced it has selected the University of Washington to host NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies (CICOES). 

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