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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

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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