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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
New study: U.S. power plant emissions down

New study: U.S. power plant emissions down

Power plants that use natural gas and a new technology to squeeze more energy from the fuel release far less of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide than coal-fired power plants do, according to a new analysis accepted for publication Jan. 8 in the journal Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. The so-called “combined cycle” natural gas power plants also release significantly less nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, which can worsen air quality.
January 9, 2014 0 Comments
CIRES, NOAA observe significant methane leaks in a Utah natural gas field

CIRES, NOAA observe significant methane leaks in a Utah natural gas field

On a perfect winter day in Utah’s Uintah County in 2012, CIRES scientists and NOAA colleagues tested out a new way to measure methane emissions from a natural gas production field. Their results, accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, constitute a proof-of-concept that could help both researchers and regulators better determine how much of the greenhouse gas and other air pollutants leak from oil and gas fields. 
August 7, 2013 0 Comments
Scientists working to crack key air quality and climate mysteries in U.S. Southeast

Scientists working to crack key air quality and climate mysteries in U.S. Southeast

Scientists this summer are taking one of the most detailed looks ever at the natural and manmade emissions that affect air quality in the Southeast, and their movement and chemical transformations within the atmosphere. The mission should help scientists determine the origin of the fine particles and how they contribute to the haziness in the region and affect regional air quality and temperature trends.

June 19, 2013 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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