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.
Editor's note: This is the sixth in a series Dispatches from the Arctic on the August science cruise by NOAA and partner scientists aboard the Coast Guard icebreaker Healy. Today's post is from Dr. Jessie Cremean of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory.
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.
A perspective from NOAA and NASA scientists published online on January 29, 2014 in Nature Climate Change addresses a key question surrounding proposals to engineer the Earth’s climate to increase the planet’s reflection of sunlight to counteract climate warming: Could we measure manmade increases in reflectivity?
Scientists have found that wispy cirrus clouds have cores of dust and metallic particles, answering questions about how these clouds form and giving insight into their climatic implications in the future.
Clouds over the central Greenland Ice Sheet last July were “just right” for driving surface temperatures there above the melting point.
Today marks the beginning of a large-scale, comprehensive field project to measure how thunderstorms transport, produce and process chemicals that form ozone, a greenhouse gas that affects Earth's climate, air quality and weather patterns.
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.