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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

Aviation is responsible for 3.5 percent of climate change, study finds

Aviation is responsible for 3.5 percent of climate change, study finds Read more

The study evaluated all of the aviation industry’s contributing factors to climate change, including emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide, and the effect of contrails and contrail cirrus – short-lived clouds created in jet engine exhaust plumes at aircraft cruise altitudes that reflect sunlight during the day and trap heat trying to escape at night. 

Lawns provide surprising contribution to L.A. Basin’s carbon emissions

Lawns provide surprising contribution to L.A. Basin’s carbon emissions Read more

Understanding the biologic contribution of CO2  to megacities' overall carbon emissions will be important for designing and evaluating mitigation strategies.

NOAA's miniature aerosol instrument delivered to space

NOAA's miniature aerosol instrument delivered to space Read more

A miniaturized aerosol spectrometer developed by scientists in NOAA’s Chemical Sciences Labotatory will be one of several insttuments making sure air in the living spaces of the International Space Station stays safe. 

Natural disaster plans may aid businesses’ pandemic response

Natural disaster plans may aid businesses’ pandemic response Read more

The social and economic impacts of COVID-19 have battered small- and medium-sized enterprises, putting millions of jobs in the U.S. at risk. And a year rife with natural disasters has not done the many already struggling businesses any favors.

Monitoring Change in the Arctic

Monitoring Change in the Arctic Read more

While NOAA has had to cancel many of its planned research surveys in Alaska, it has been able to conduct a number of scaled-back research surveys in 2020. One such survey that will be finishing up this week is in the Arctic and was conducted on board NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson to collect critical data supporting a long time series involving many scientific partners.

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Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.

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