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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
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
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
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
Colorado report: climate change projected to reduce water in streams, increase water needs for crops, cities

Colorado report: climate change projected to reduce water in streams, increase water needs for crops, cities

Rising temperatures will tend to reduce the amount of water in many of Colorado’s streams and rivers, melt mountain snowpack earlier in the spring, and increase the water needed by thirsty crops and cities, according to the new report, “Climate Change in Colorado: A Synthesis to Support Water Resources Management and Adaptation,” which updates and expands upon an initial report released in 2008.

August 5, 2014 0 Comments
Serving up climate data in useable formats

Serving up climate data in useable formats

With NOAA funding, Ben Koziol, a CIRES researcher in NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, and partners, have built OpenClimateGIS, a new tool that will aid resource managers and others in the interpretation of climate data at the regional level. Today, Koziol and his collaborator, University of Michigan professor Richard Rood, will attend the launch of the White House’s Climate Data Initiative. Their new software, still in development, is showing promise for serving many sectors, including storm water planning (sewers get overwhelmed by intense rainfalls, which are on the rise in some areas) and emergency planning around dangerous heat waves (also on the rise in some areas).  

 

March 19, 2014 0 Comments
New study: Dust, warming portend dry future for the Colorado River

New study: Dust, warming portend dry future for the Colorado River

Reducing the amount of desert dust swept onto snowy Rocky Mountain peaks could help Western water managers deal with the challenges of a warmer future, according to a new study led by researchers at NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder.
November 14, 2013 0 Comments
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