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Nationwide study measures short-term spike in particulate matter due to Independence Day fireworks

Particulate matter linked to short and long-term health effects

From our nation’s founding, the Fourth of July has been synonymous with fireworks. While many grew up learning that fireworks can be dangerous to the eyes and hands if not handled properly, fireworks also produce air pollutants, including particulate matter, that are linked to short-term or long-term health effects.

NOAA has authored a new study appearing in the journal Atmospheric Environment that quantifies the surge in fine particulate matter – particles that are two and one half microns in diameter (PM2.5) – on July 4, using observations from the 315 U.S. air quality monitoring sites that operated from 1999 to 2013. The new study is the first nationwide quantitative analysis of the effects.

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.

Heat-trapping gas concentrations top 400 ppm, two months earlier than last year

NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory tracks continual rise in greenhouse gases

Over the last five days beginning on March 16, 2014, carbon dioxide levels have surpassed 400 parts per million at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. This is nearly two months earlier than last year when the concentration of this greenhouse gas was first recorded above 400 parts per million on May 9, at the historic NOAA observatory. 

We caught up with James Butler, Ph.D., Director of NOAA’s Global Monitoring Division, to ask about what it means that we reached this milestone earlier than last year. To track carbon dioxide concentrations daily click here.

Serving up climate data in useable formats

NOAA and CIRES scientists, collaborators improve climate data access

With NOAA funding, Ben Koziol, a CIRES researcher in NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, and partners, have built OpenClimateGIS, a new tool that will aid resource managers and others in the interpretation of climate data at the regional level. Today, Koziol and his collaborator, University of Michigan professor Richard Rood, will attend the launch of the White House’s Climate Data Initiative. Their new software, still in development, is showing promise for serving many sectors, including storm water planning (sewers get overwhelmed by intense rainfalls, which are on the rise in some areas) and emergency planning around dangerous heat waves (also on the rise in some areas).  

 

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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. 

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.

NOAA teams up with Viking to conduct and share science aboard new Great Lakes expedition voyages

NOAA teams up with Viking to conduct and share science aboard new Great Lakes expedition voyages Read more

NOAA plans to expand its research in the Great Lakes region as the agency teams up with the travel company Viking to carry scientists aboard new expedition voyages planned to begin in 2022.

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