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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

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.

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.  

NOAA unveils 10-year roadmap for tackling ocean, Great Lakes acidification

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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