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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
Drought researchers explore future challenges in managing water

Drought researchers explore future challenges in managing water

California’s ongoing extreme drought must be a lesson for managing water in a warmer, more densely populated world, says a team of NOAA and University of California climatologists and hydrologists in an essay this week in Nature.

August 26, 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
NOAA’s growing weather observations database goes into full operations

NOAA’s growing weather observations database goes into full operations

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.
February 19, 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
Rivers in the sky

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.

January 16, 2015 0 Comments
Research physicist named director of Earth System Research Lab Chemical Sciences Division

Research physicist named director of Earth System Research Lab Chemical Sciences Division

Craig McLean, the acting assistant administrator for NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, announced Wednesday, December 24, that David Fahey, Ph.D., has been selected as the new director of the Earth System Research Laboratory Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), in Boulder, Colorado, effective December 28, 2014.

December 23, 2014 0 Comments
Researchers offer new insights into predicting future droughts in California

Researchers offer new insights into predicting future droughts in California

According to a new NOAA-sponsored study, natural oceanic and atmospheric patterns are the primary drivers behind California's ongoing drought. A high pressure ridge off the West Coast (typical of historic droughts) prevailed for three winters, blocking important wet season storms, with ocean surface temperature patterns making such a ridge much more likely. Typically, the winter season in California provides the state with a majority of its annual snow and rainfall that replenish water supplies for communities and ecosystems.

December 8, 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
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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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