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Research finds spike in dust storms in American Southwest driven by ocean changes

Research finds spike in dust storms in American Southwest driven by ocean changes

People living in the American Southwest have experienced a dramatic increase in windblown dust storms in the last two decades, likely driven by large-scale changes in sea surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean drying the region’s soil, according to new NOAA-led research.

May 10, 2017 0 Comments
Rural West sees more smog; now scientists may know why

Rural West sees more smog; now scientists may know why

Ground-level ozone, also known as smog, has climbed in the rural West over the past 25 years, even in such seemingly pristine places as Yellowstone National Park. Now, scientists may have found out why – and why cutting our own output of smog-forming chemicals such as nitrogen oxide hasn’t helped.
March 1, 2017 0 Comments
When good ozone goes bad

When good ozone goes bad

NOAA research is helping air quality managers understand what drives high ozone readings in the desert southwest during springtime. 

January 25, 2017 0 Comments
NOAA “reels in” data on Utah’s winter ozone problem

NOAA “reels in” data on Utah’s winter ozone problem

A deep sea fishing rod is probably not the first tool that comes to mind when thinking about how to study air pollution in a remote inland desert, but it’s the heart of a new NOAA system that has given scientists a minute-by-minute look at how quickly the sun can convert oil and gas facility emissions to harmful ground-level ozone.

September 19, 2016 0 Comments
Accounting for Denver’s Ozone

Accounting for Denver’s Ozone

The first peer-reviewed study to quantify oil and gas emissions on Colorado's northern Front Range confirms that energy development is an important contributor to the region’s chronic ozone problem. The NOAA-CIRES research was published August 8 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

August 9, 2016 0 Comments
North Dakota’s Bakken oil and gas field leaking 275,000 tons of methane per year

North Dakota’s Bakken oil and gas field leaking 275,000 tons of methane per year

The Bakken oil and gas field is leaking a lot of methane, but less than some satellites report, and less than the latest Environmental Protection Agency inventory for petroleum systems, according to the researchers’ calculations. That's the finding of the first field study measuring emissions of this potent greenhouse gas from the Bakken, which spans parts of North Dakota and Montana. The work was published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

May 11, 2016 0 Comments
New NOAA-led study measures soot from North Dakota  flaring in oil and gas fields

New NOAA-led study measures soot from North Dakota flaring in oil and gas fields

In the lonely reaches of northwestern North Dakota and across the border into Saskatchewan, the vast Bakken oil field hosts extensive activities to extract both crude oil and natural gas. Business is booming—production increased by 30 percent between May 2013 and May 2014. More than a quarter of the total gas produced from the Bakken operations can’t be processed fast enough, though, and the common industry practice is to flare it—burn it off as it is vented to the atmosphere. Jutting 30 feet upward like enormous lit matchsticks, the flares pose a new question for atmospheric scientists: What do the flares put into the air? A new NOAA-led study has produced the first direct measurements of how much black carbon—a major component of airborne particles that are commonly referred to as soot —is emitted by the Bakken flaring operations.

September 9, 2015 0 Comments
NOAA's Science On a Sphere® animations coming to your desktop

NOAA's Science On a Sphere® animations coming to your desktop

(September 1) Today NOAA released a free, downloadable flat screen version of its popular Science On a Sphere® (SOS), SOS ExplorerTM. This new way to display the dynamics of Earth’s weather and climate, plate tectonics and more will help teachers bring these stunning science visualizations, usually found at museums and science centers, into the classroom, where students can learn by exploring.


September 1, 2015 0 Comments
Stratosphere an Accomplice for Santa Ana Winds and California Wildfires

Stratosphere an Accomplice for Santa Ana Winds and California Wildfires

The hot and dry Santa Ana winds are associated with many of Southern California’s destructive wildfires, and even take the blame for tense, ugly moods. Now, NOAA researchers have found that on occasion the winds have an accomplice in contributing to California’s wildfires: atmospheric events known as stratospheric intrusions, which bring extremely dry air from the upper atmosphere down to the surface.

July 8, 2015 0 Comments
Nationwide study measures short-term spike in particulate matter due to Independence Day fireworks

Nationwide study measures short-term spike in particulate matter due to Independence Day fireworks

From our nation’s founding, the Fourth of July has been synonymous with fireworks. While many grew up learning that fireworks can be dangerous to the eyes and hands if not handled properly, fireworks also produce air pollutants, including particulate matter, that are linked to short-term or long-term health effects.

NOAA has authored a new study appearing in the journal Atmospheric Environment that quantifies the surge in fine particulate matter – particles that are two and one half microns in diameter (PM2.5) – on July 4, using observations from the 315 U.S. air quality monitoring sites that operated from 1999 to 2013. The new study is the first nationwide quantitative analysis of the effects.

June 30, 2015 0 Comments
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The Office of 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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