While human-caused carbon dioxide emissions are by far the most important driver of climate change, water vapor is actually the most abundant greenhouse gas, and is responsible for about half of Earth’s natural greenhouse effect – the one that keeps our planet habitable.
Chemical Sciences Laboratory
CSL performs research in key societally relevant areas including air quality, climate, and the stratosphere. Discovery, new questions, and stakeholder needs drive CSL research. CSL research informs and improves operational NOAA products and services, results in technology transfer, informs decision makers, contributes to assessments and reports, and delivers an extensive collection of datasets and peer-reviewed publications to the wider scientific community.
A volcanic eruption sent enough water vapor into the stratosphere to cause a rapid change in chemistry
The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on January 15, 2022, produced the largest underwater explosion ever recorded by modern scientific instruments, blasting an enormous amount of water and volcanic gases higher than any other eruption in the satellite era.