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Stricter limits for ozone pollution would boost need for science, measurements

Stricter limits for ozone pollution would boost need for science, measurements

A tougher federal standard for ozone pollution, under consideration to improve public health, would ramp up the importance of scientific measurements and models, according to a new commentary published in the June 5 edition of Science by researchers at NOAA and its cooperative institute at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The commentary, led by Owen Cooper of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, looks at how a new, stricter ozone standard would pose challenges for air quality managers at state and local levels. Last November, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed lowering the primary ozone standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 or 65 ppb, based on ozone’s known effects on children, the elderly, and people who have lung diseases such as asthma. A decision by the EPA administrator is expected in October 2015.

June 4, 2015 0 Comments
Quantifying the emissions from a large ethanol refinery

Quantifying the emissions from a large ethanol refinery

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.

May 5, 2015 0 Comments
American Chemical Society honors measurement set at NOAA observatory

American Chemical Society honors measurement set at NOAA observatory

The American Chemical Society will designate the Keeling Curve – a long-term record of rising carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere -- as a National Historic Chemical Landmark in a ceremony April 30 at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.


April 23, 2015 0 Comments
Scientists probe methane mystery in Four Corners

Scientists probe methane mystery in Four Corners

A team of scientific investigators is now in the Four Corners region of the U.S. Southwest, aiming to uncover reasons for a mysterious methane hotspot detected from space by a European satellite. The joint project is working to solve the mystery from the air, on the ground, and with mobile laboratories.

April 7, 2015 0 Comments
Studying the air above oil and gas production areas in the western United States

Studying the air above oil and gas production areas in the western United States

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.
March 20, 2015 0 Comments
Methane leaks from three large U.S. natural gas fields in line with federal estimates

Methane leaks from three large U.S. natural gas fields in line with federal estimates

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.

February 18, 2015 0 Comments
Antarctic ozone hole similar to last year

Antarctic ozone hole similar to last year

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.

October 30, 2014 0 Comments
New study explains wintertime ozone pollution in Utah oil and gas fields

New study explains wintertime ozone pollution in Utah oil and gas fields

Chemicals released into the air by oil and gas exploration, extraction and related activities can spark reactions that lead to high levels of ozone in wintertime, high enough to exceed federal health standards, according to new NOAA-led research, published online today in Nature.
October 1, 2014 0 Comments
Report: telltale signs that ozone layer is recovering

Report: telltale signs that ozone layer is recovering

Nearly 30 years after the protections of the Montreal Protocol were put into place, there’s more evidence that the international agreement to protect Earth’s ozone layer is working, according to a new scientific report released today at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

September 10, 2014 0 Comments
New global assessment examines air pollutants falling on the Earth’s surface

New global assessment examines air pollutants falling on the Earth’s surface

We sat down with Richard Artz, environmental scientist at NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory, to learn more about the new global assessment of air pollutants that fall to the earth in precipitation and in dry form. The assessment is available online in the journal Atmospheric Environment.

April 15, 2014 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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