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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

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 exploring impact of COVID-19 response on the environment

NOAA exploring impact of COVID-19 response on the environment Read more

NOAA has launched a wide-ranging research effort to investigate the impact of reduced vehicle traffic, air travel, shipping, manufacturing and other activities on Earth’s atmosphere and oceans due to the response to COVID-19.

Dangerous humid heat extremes occurring decades before expected

Dangerous humid heat extremes occurring decades before expected Read more

Climate models project that combinations of heat and humidity could reach deadly thresholds for anyone spending several hours outdoors by the end of the 21st century. However, new NOAA-supported research says these extremes are already happening — decades before anticipated — due to global warming to date.  

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. 

NOAA teams with United Nations to create locust-tracking application

NOAA teams with United Nations to create locust-tracking application Read more

NOAA’s powerful air quality model used to track pollution from wildfires, volcanoes and industrial accidents is now being used to help warn communities across Africa and Asia of what have been called the worst locust swarms in a quarter century. 

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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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