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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

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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