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.
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.
New research published in Marine Policy from the first Alaska-focused study on public understanding and awareness of ocean acidification risk shows that Alaskans are three times more aware of ocean acidification than Americans in general. However, Alaskans have difficulty seeing ocean acidification as an immediate risk, and the direct risks to Alaska’s fisheries are still not well understood. The research, “Gauging perceptions of ocean acidification in Alaska,” can be read online.
Scientists at the Army Corps of Engineers, Environment Canada, and NOAA recently documented a record-setting surge in water levels on Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron that began in January 2013, and has continued through November 2014. The United States and Canadian federal agencies expect water levels to stay near or above average on all of the Great Lakes over the next six months.
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.
NOAA Sea Grant announced today grants totaling $15.9 million to support over 300 projects around the nation that help build resilient coastal communities and economies. Through university, state and other partnerships, Sea Grant Programs will supplement the federal funding with an additional $7.9 million in non-federal matching funds, bringing the total investment to more than $23.8 million.
NOAA researchers set out this week on a two-week mission to fly over the Arctic to measure how much the ice has melted over the summer and gauge the speed of this fall’s refreezing of sea ice. This is the second year in a row scientists have flown above Arctic waters. Data gathered from both years is testing a hypothesis that increased summer heat stored in the newly sea-ice free areas of the Arctic Ocean lead to surface heat fluxes in autumn that are large enough to have impacts on atmospheric temperature, humidity, wind and cloud distributions.
Last September’s widespread flooding in northeast Colorado, which saw just over 17 inches of rain in one week in the city of Boulder, was not made more likely or more intense by the effects of human-induced climate change, according to a new NOAA-led study published today in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
A global report released this week on changing carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land environment draws heavily from data and observations by NOAA research scientists and their partners. For the first time, the annual assessment by the Global Carbon Project uses data obtained from autonomous instruments installed by NOAA scientists on its ships and other ships of opportunity and moorings to determine the variability of carbon dioxide in the surface ocean.
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.