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North Dakota’s Bakken oil and gas field leaking 275,000 tons of methane per year

The Bakken oil and gas field is leaking a lot of methane, but less than some satellites report, and less than the latest Environmental Protection Agency inventory for petroleum systems, according to the researchers’ calculations. That's the finding of the first field study measuring emissions of this potent greenhouse gas from the Bakken, which spans parts of North Dakota and Montana. The work was published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Leftover warm water in Pacific Ocean fueled massive El Niño

Editor's note: The American Geophysical Union wrote the following release on new NOAA research publishing in Geophysical Research Letters.

A new study by NOAA's Aaron Levine and Michael Mcphaden provides insight into how the current El Niño, one of the strongest on record, formed in the Pacific Ocean. The new research finds easterly winds in the tropical Pacific Ocean stalled a potential El Niño in 2014 and left a swath of warm water in the central Pacific. The presence of that warm water stacked the deck for a monster El Niño to occur in 2015, according to the study’s authors.

Flying high to measure gravity: humans optional

Unmanned plane gathers gravity information to make nation more resilient

NOAA's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program worked through NOAA's Small Business Innovation Research Program  to test an unmanned aircraft system for gravity measurements. SBIR funds high-risk, high-reward projects that not only help NOAA to meet its mission, but open up new markets for industry. 

Measuring variations in gravity helps scientists create a height measurement system based on where water will flow. These measurements will help prepare for floods, sea level rise, and other emergencies, making our coastal communities more resilient, and aid a number of diverse industries such as agriculture, construction, transportation, and urban planning.

Extensive coral communities found in Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park

NOAA and partners explore cold water coral with remotely operated vehicle and scuba dives

On a recent research expedition in Alaska, scientists aboard the R/V Norseman IIconducted the first-ever deepwater exploration of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Using both surveys by scuba divers and the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Kraken2, scientists found an abundance of cold-water corals and associated organisms that use these corals as habitat, from the very bottom to the top of the submerged portion of the fjords. Prior to the expedition, little was known about ecosystems in the depths of the fjord and records of corals were sparse. 
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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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