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NOAA’s investments in weather models and partnerships paying off

Early improvements effective in forecasting recent Nor’easter; future forecast model upgrades planned

As the Northeast digs out from this week’s blizzard, a new NOAA-led effort to improve the forecasting of such high impact weather events is reaching an important early benchmark. One of the first major improvements - upgrading the resolution of three global forecast models -- has already shown its effectiveness. One of these models, the newly upgraded Global Forecast System (GFS) model, provided one of the most precise forecasts of the track, intensity, precipitation, and distribution of the Nor’easter. The other research models provided important forecast information, as well.

Rivers in the sky

Yes, there are rivers in the sky!  Atmospheric rivers, to be exact, are narrow bands of moisture that regularly form above the Pacific Ocean and flow towards North America’s west coast, drenching it in rain and packing it with snow.   These rivers, which transport more water than the Amazon or the Mississippi, have a far-reaching impact - even on the food you may be eating today.

With this week’s  January 14 sailing of NOAA’s largest ship, the Ronald H. Brown, a major investigation of atmospheric rivers named CalWater 2015 is now underway.

Energy Department Announces $2.5 Million to Improve Wind Forecasting

The Energy Department today announced $2.5 million for a new project to research the atmospheric processes that generate wind in mountain-valley regions. This in-depth research, conducted by Vaisala of Louisville, Colorado, will be used to improve the wind industry’s weather models for short-term wind forecasts, especially for those issued less than 15 hours in advance. With access to better forecasts, wind energy plant operators and industry professionals can ensure wind turbines operate closer to maximum capacity, leading to lower energy costs for consumers.

Research physicist named director of Earth System Research Lab Chemical Sciences Division

Craig McLean, the acting assistant administrator for NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, announced Wednesday, December 24, that David Fahey, Ph.D., has been selected as the new director of the Earth System Research Laboratory Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), in Boulder, Colorado, effective December 28, 2014.

New study finds Alaskans familiar with ocean acidification, not aware of risks to fisheries

New research published in Marine Policy from the first Alaska-focused study on public understanding and awareness of ocean acidification risk shows that Alaskans are three times more aware of ocean acidification than Americans in general.  However, Alaskans have difficulty seeing ocean acidification as an immediate risk, and the direct risks to Alaska’s fisheries are still not well understood. The research, “Gauging perceptions of ocean acidification in Alaska,” can be read online.


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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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