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Quantifying the emissions from a large ethanol refinery

Refining ethanol may release more of some pollutants than burning it in vehicles

After quantifying the airborne emissions from the nation’s third largest ethanol refinery, a team led by NOAA and University of ColoradoBoulder researchers has found that for some gases, refining ethanol releases more to the atmosphere than previously thought—and in some cases more than is ultimately released by burning the fuel in vehicles. The emissions can contribute to the formation of ozone, a regulated pollutant that can affect human health. Results are published in a paper published online by Journal of Geophysical Research.

Studying the air above oil and gas production areas in the western United States

NOAA and CIRES lead airborne field campaign to look at climate and air quality impacts

Vast regions west of the Mississippi River are under development for oil and gas extraction, and the associated equipment has become a familiar sight on any cross-country road trip or flight.  But while one focus is on what comes out of the ground, NOAA and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) researchers and their colleagues are studying what escapes to the air—and how it is transformed in the atmosphere and affects air quality and climate.  The scientists are using a suite of state-of-the-art chemical instruments aboard a research aircraft this spring in the NOAA-led Shale Oil and Natural Gas Nexus (SONGNEX 2015) field campaign, to study the atmospheric effects of energy production in the western United States.

Methane leaks from three large U.S. natural gas fields in line with federal estimates

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, NOAA researchers, colleagues measure lower emissions of the greenhouse gas than some other sites

Tens of thousands of pounds of methane leak per hour from equipment in three major natural gas basins that span Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Pennsylvania, according to airborne measurements published today by a NOAA-led team of scientists. But the overall leak rate from those basins is only about one percent of gas production there—lower than leak rates measured in other gas fields, and in line with federal estimates.

Antarctic ozone hole similar to last year

Ozone hole not as large as late 1990s, early 2000s

The Antarctic ozone hole, which forms annually in the August to October period, reached its peak size on September 11, stretching to 9.3 million square miles (24.1 million square kilometers), roughly the same size as last year’s peak of 9.3 million square miles (24 million square kilometers) on September 16, 2013. This is an area similar in size to North America.

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Popular Research News

Dungeness crab larvae already showing effects of coastal acidification

Dungeness crab larvae already showing effects of coastal acidification Read more

Analysis of larval crab sampled from coastal waters identified examples of damage to the outer shell of numerous larval Dungeness crabs, as well as the loss of hair-like sensory structures crabs use to orient themselves to their surroundings. 

Indo-Pacific Ocean warming is changing global rainfall patterns

Indo-Pacific Ocean warming is changing global rainfall patterns Read more

New research by NOAA and a visiting scientist from India shows that warming of the Indo-Pacific Ocean is altering rainfall patterns from the tropics to the United States, contributing to declines in rainfall on the United States west and east coasts.

NOAA launches major field campaign to improve weather and climate prediction

NOAA launches major field campaign to improve weather and climate prediction Read more

Picture a calm, sunny day at a tropical beach. You look out at the ocean and in the distance a flotilla of small white clouds sails close to the waves. It’s ideal weather and typical of many days in the tropical Atlantic. However, scientists don’t fully understand how these ubiquitous clouds (a type of “shallow convective cloud”) form and impact the ocean, and it represents one of the largest uncertainties in predicting climate change.

NOAA researchers are working to make traveling in winter weather safer

Wave gliders, ocean drifters and drones to help international researchers solve key climate question

Wave gliders, ocean drifters and drones to help international researchers solve key climate question Read more

American and European scientists are deploying dozens of autonomous and remotely-piloted instrument platforms to capture simultaneous observations of the lower atmosphere and the upper ocean offshore of Barbados with unprecedented detail.

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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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