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NOAA Research News

NOAA’s growing weather observations database goes into full operations

Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System harnesses more than 64,000 sources of data

More robust observational data gives weather forecasters better information to develop a forecast. But data from so many different sources – 64,000 – is not easily integrated. That’s where scientists at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory came in to develop the system called the Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS) to make this wealth of data more accessible and usable.  This research project successfully transitioned into operations by NOAA’s National Weather Service in late January. It is another example of NOAA’s work to strengthen the effectiveness of the National Weather Service to provide environmental intelligence to communities and businesses, enabling them to become ready, responsive and resilient in the face of extreme weather, water and climate events.

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.

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.

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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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