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New NOAA-led study measures soot from North Dakota flaring in oil and gas fields

Flaring produces an estimated 4 tons of black carbon per day, not considered significant for climate

In the lonely reaches of northwestern North Dakota and across the border into Saskatchewan, the vast Bakken oil field hosts extensive activities to extract both crude oil and natural gas. Business is booming—production increased by 30 percent between May 2013 and May 2014. More than a quarter of the total gas produced from the Bakken operations can’t be processed fast enough, though, and the common industry practice is to flare it—burn it off as it is vented to the atmosphere. Jutting 30 feet upward like enormous lit matchsticks, the flares pose a new question for atmospheric scientists: What do the flares put into the air? A new NOAA-led study has produced the first direct measurements of how much black carbon—a major component of airborne particles that are commonly referred to as soot —is emitted by the Bakken flaring operations.

NOAA's Science On a Sphere® animations coming to your desktop

NOAA releases free downloadable flat screen program, great for students, teachers and science lovers

(September 1) Today NOAA released a free, downloadable flat screen version of its popular Science On a Sphere® (SOS), SOS ExplorerTM. This new way to display the dynamics of Earth’s weather and climate, plate tectonics and more will help teachers bring these stunning science visualizations, usually found at museums and science centers, into the classroom, where students can learn by exploring.


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Popular Research News

Carbon dioxide peaks near 420 parts per million at Mauna Loa observatory

Carbon dioxide peaks near 420 parts per million at Mauna Loa observatory Read more

In May, NOAA's measurements at the Mauna Loa observatory averaged 419.13 parts per million. Scientists at Scripps calculated a monthly average of 418.92 ppm.  It's the highest level since accurate measurements began 63 years ago.

NOAA index tracks how greenhouse gas pollution amplified global warming in 2020

NOAA index tracks how greenhouse gas pollution amplified global warming in 2020 Read more

The annual analysis of samples collected by NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network provides an updated measure of the excess heat trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gas pollution.

Meet 5 NOAA buoys that help scientists understand our weather, climate and ocean health

Meet 5 NOAA buoys that help scientists understand our weather, climate and ocean health Read more

Keeping track of ocean health is critical for understanding climate change, weather patterns, and the health of important fisheries. But how do NOAA and partner scientists gather data on such a vast environment? 

NOAA, Boeing team up to test greenhouse gas-measuring technology

NOAA, Boeing team up to test greenhouse gas-measuring technology Read more

Scientists with NOAA's Global Monitoring Laboratory will evaluate the optimal placement of greenhouse-gas sampling inlets on a Boeing 737 flying testbed owned by Alaska Air during Boeing's 2021 ecoDemonstrator technology development program. 

NOAA initiatives among the first round of Ocean Decade endorsed actions

NOAA initiatives among the first round of Ocean Decade endorsed actions Read more

NOAA scientists and priorities are well reflected in several of the first Ocean Decade actions endorsed and announced this week by the United Nations Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC).

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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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