You may have heard of atmospheric rivers in the news lately due to the intense rainfall and flooding along the U.S. West Coast. These naturally occurring air currents can bring both severe disruption and great benefit through the heavy rain and mountain snows that contribute to regional water supply. NOAA studies atmospheric rivers to improve forecasting capabilities as well as to improve our understanding of atmospheric river impacts on communities and the physical environment.
Introducing a new social media series from NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML): 12 Days of Instruments! This series highlights 12 of the many instruments used by our researchers at AOML! Each of these instruments are vital to conducting our groundbreaking research.
On December 6, 2022, a major new version of HYSPLIT was fully implemented at the National Weather Service’s (NWS) National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). HYSPLIT is the pre-eminent model, developed and updated by NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory, that has been used for tracking hazardous and toxic emissions from industrial, transportation, and nuclear accidents, smoke from wildfires and prescribed fires, ash from volcanic eruptions and dust from dust storms. Among its new capabilities is an expanded and enhanced capability for volcanic ash modeling.
November 30th marked the official end to the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season. Scientists and forecasters from across NOAA worked tirelessly throughout the season to conduct critical tropical cyclone research. This year, NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) coordinated the longest series of missions into a single tropical system, arranged multiple observing assets for simultaneous data collection, deployed new small uncrewed aircraft system technology, and included a novel “moving nest” capability to our next-generation hurricane model.
New NOAA research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, found that hurricane intensification rates near the U.S. Atlantic coast have increased significantly over the last 40 years and will likely continue to increase in the future.
NOAA has invested in 23 small businesses developing innovative technologies in technical areas including climate adaptation and mitigation, weather-ready nation, healthy oceans, and resilient coastal communities and economies. These grants were awarded under the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, and total over nearly $3.4 million.
Hurricane Andrew made landfall on August 24, 1992, near Homestead, Florida, becoming one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in U.S. history. It had an extremely low central pressure of 922 millibars and maximum sustained wind speeds estimated at 165 miles per hour. The storm rapidly intensified less than 36 hours before landfall, leaving most residents less than a day to secure their homes and heed evacuation orders.
When NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) staff found themselves with a major hurricane on their doorstep, hurricane researchers urgently began working to aid forecasters at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC). Hurricane Andrew affected their families, and even destroyed one scientist’s home. Once the hurricane passed, our scientists went right back to work, using what they had learned and seen firsthand to improve our understanding of tropical cyclones. In the 30 years since Andrew, NOAA scientists, forecasters and partners have revolutionized hurricane forecasting to save lives and property.
In partnership with NOAA, Saildrone Inc. is deploying seven ocean drones to collect data from hurricanes during the 2022 hurricane season with the goal of improving hurricane forecasting. For the first year, two saildrones will track hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.
When a volcano in the South Pacific Ocean erupted in January 2022, NOAA researchers were well-equipped to study the multi-hazard event by sky and by sea. Key technologies and strategic partnerships made it possible for NOAA to issue warnings that saved lives around the world, while also collecting scientific data that will improve forecasting models and disaster response for future events.
A research team led by scientists from the University of California Berkeley and NOAA found that HRRR-Smoke accurately predicted the intensification of smoke pollution from the Camp Fire.
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.