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Heat-trapping gas concentrations top 400 ppm, two months earlier than last year

NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory tracks continual rise in greenhouse gases

Over the last five days beginning on March 16, 2014, carbon dioxide levels have surpassed 400 parts per million at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. This is nearly two months earlier than last year when the concentration of this greenhouse gas was first recorded above 400 parts per million on May 9, at the historic NOAA observatory. 

We caught up with James Butler, Ph.D., Director of NOAA’s Global Monitoring Division, to ask about what it means that we reached this milestone earlier than last year. To track carbon dioxide concentrations daily click here.

Serving up climate data in useable formats

NOAA and CIRES scientists, collaborators improve climate data access

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).  

 

NOAA Seeks Answers to Great Lakes Water Level Changes

Understanding causes helps water managers, planners and overall economy

While people along our nation’s coast experience rising sea levels, residents along the Great Lakes – the Earth’s largest lake system – are adapting to the opposite problem: chronic low water levels and a receding shoreline.

In a perspective now running in Science magazine, Drew Gronewold, a hydrologist at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, says “the record low water levels in Lake Michigan-Huron in the winter of 2012 to 2013 raise important questions about the driving forces behind water level fluctuations and how water resource management planning decisions can be improved.” 

Mapping climate change in the oceans

NOAA Research and NOAA Fisheries collaborate on new method to assess fish vulnerability to climate change

An interview with Mike Alexander, research meteorologist at NOAA’s Earth System Research Lab in Boulder, Colorado, about a new web portal that maps climate change effects in oceans. The new web portal is helping NOAA Fisheries Service with its new process to assess how vulnerable fish stocks are to climate change.

NOAA’s Upcoming Weather Forecast Model Zeros In Earlier on Severe Weather

Research behind the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh weather forecast model

Later this year, NOAA’s National Weather Service will usher into daily operations a sophisticated model called the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh, or HRRR, that will update forecasts hourly over the entire lower 48 United States at extremely sharp resolution using the latest observations from a network of ground and satellite-based sensors, radars and aircraft.

The HRRR provides forecast information at a resolution four times finer than what is currently used in hourly updated NOAA models.  This improvement in resolution from 13 to three kilometers is like giving forecasters an aerial photograph in which each pixel represents a neighborhood instead of a city.

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Popular Research News

Rise of carbon dioxide unabated

Rise of carbon dioxide unabated Read more

Atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at Mauna Loa Observatory reached a seasonal peak of 417.1 parts per million for 2020 in May, the highest monthly reading ever recorded. Monthly CO2 values at Mauna Loa first breached the 400 ppm threshold in 2014, and are now at levels not experienced by the atmosphere in several million years.

NOAA exploring impact of COVID-19 response on the environment

NOAA exploring impact of COVID-19 response on the environment Read more

NOAA has launched a wide-ranging research effort to investigate the impact of reduced vehicle traffic, air travel, shipping, manufacturing and other activities on Earth’s atmosphere and oceans due to the response to COVID-19.

Dangerous humid heat extremes occurring decades before expected

Dangerous humid heat extremes occurring decades before expected Read more

Climate models project that combinations of heat and humidity could reach deadly thresholds for anyone spending several hours outdoors by the end of the 21st century. However, new NOAA-supported research says these extremes are already happening — decades before anticipated — due to global warming to date.  

Warming influence of greenhouse gases continues to rise, NOAA finds

Warming influence of greenhouse gases continues to rise, NOAA finds Read more

NOAA’s Annual Greenhouse Gas Index tracks the concentrations of greenhouse gases being added to the atmosphere principally from human-caused emissions. The AGGI then calculates the heat being added to Earth's atmosphere and oceans as a result. 

NOAA teams with United Nations to create locust-tracking application

NOAA teams with United Nations to create locust-tracking application Read more

NOAA’s powerful air quality model used to track pollution from wildfires, volcanoes and industrial accidents is now being used to help warn communities across Africa and Asia of what have been called the worst locust swarms in a quarter century. 

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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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