CarbonTracker-CH4: An assimilation system for estimating emissions of atmospheric methane
September 1, 2014

CarbonTracker-CH4: An assimilation system for estimating emissions of atmospheric methane

The NOAA CarbonTracker-CH4 Data Assimilation Product has been developed as a companion product to NOAA's CarbonTracker (CO2), with the goal of producing quantitative estimates of emissions of methane to the atmosphere from natural and anthropogenic sources for North America and the rest of the world. CarbonTracker-CH4 emission estimates are consistent with observed patterns of CH4 in the atmosphere.
Greenhouse gases top 400 ppm for three months in a row at Mauna Loa
July 8, 2014

Greenhouse gases top 400 ppm for three months in a row at Mauna Loa

For the first time since carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been measured, the levels of this greenhouse gas at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, have been above 400 parts per million every single day for three straight months.
How NOAA keeps track of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases
June 2, 2014

How NOAA keeps track of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases

The extent to which our home planet changes in response to increases in man-made heat-trapping gases is one of the foremost questions for the scientific community, policy makers, and the general public alike. To help answer this question, NOAA’s Global Monitoring Division produces the Annual Greenhouse Gas Index—a yearly report on the combined influence of long-lived greenhouse gases on Earth’s surface temperature.
Tracking carbon dioxide across the globe
May 22, 2014

Tracking carbon dioxide across the globe

Between burning fossil fuels and clearing forests, humans emit far more carbon dioxide than Earth’s natural physical and biological processes can remove from the atmosphere. Fundamental to any attempts to understand, slow, or reverse the build up of atmospheric carbon dioxide is a global accounting of where it’s released and stored. That’s why scientists at NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory created CarbonTracker: a carbon dioxide measuring and modeling system that tracks sources and sinks around the globe.
Airborne measurements confirm leaks from oil and gas operations
May 7, 2014

Airborne measurements confirm leaks from oil and gas operations

During two days of intensive airborne measurements, oil and gas operations in Colorado’s Front Range leaked nearly three times as much methane, a greenhouse gas, as predicted based on inventory estimates, and seven times as much benzene, a regulated air toxic. Emissions of other chemicals that contribute to summertime ozone pollution were about twice as high as estimates, according to the new paper, accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.
Greenhouse gases continued rising in 2013; 34 percent increase since 1990
May 2, 2014

Greenhouse gases continued rising in 2013; 34 percent increase since 1990

NOAA's latest Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), released Friday, May 2, 2014, shows that the warming influence from human-emitted gases continues to increase. Driven in large part by rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), the AGGI increased 1.5 percent between 2012 and 2013. This means the combined heating effect of human-emitted, long-lived greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere has increased by 1.5 percent in one year, and 34 percent since 1990.
Heat-trapping gas concentrations top 400 ppm, two months earlier than last year
March 21, 2014

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

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.
Renewed Increase in Atmospheric Methane Concentrations
February 12, 2014

Renewed Increase in Atmospheric Methane Concentrations

In an article published in Science Perspectives, scientists from ESRL, the UK and France show that total global emissions of methane increased by 15 to 22 Tg CH4 yr-1 starting in 2007. This result is based on methane measurements from NOAA ESRL GMD’s ~70-site sampling network.
Dry conditions in Amazonia reduce uptake of carbon dioxide
February 7, 2014

Dry conditions in Amazonia reduce uptake of carbon dioxide

As climates change, the lush tropical ecosystems of the Amazon Basin may release more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than they absorb, according to a new study published Feb. 6 in Nature.
UAS with NOAA ESRL instruments flies into the Earth’s coldest tropopause.
January 27, 2014

UAS with NOAA ESRL instruments flies into the Earth’s coldest tropopause.

NOAA ESRL is participating in NASA Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) research flights from an airbase in Guam to study the coldest parts of the Earth’s tropopause over the tropical Western Pacific.
ESRL’s Pieter Tans and greenhouse gas reference network team given the 2013 Colorado Governor’s Awards for High-Impact Research.
October 24, 2013

ESRL’s Pieter Tans and greenhouse gas reference network team given the 2013 Colorado Governor’s Awards for High-Impact Research.

Dr. Pieter Tans and his team of researchers at ESRL's Global Monitoring Division were honored for work in Atmospheric Sciences for the Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. Tans and team developed and sustained the careful and continuous collection of atmospheric observations to create a long-term record of atmospheric trace gases that is helping scientists around the globe understand the Earth system and how humans are changing the dynamics of the climate on the Earth.
Encouraging information from this year
October 21, 2013

Encouraging information from this year's observations of the Antarctic ozone hole

For nearly 50 years, scientists with NOAA have launched high-altitude balloons from the South Pole, to understand why a hole was forming in the protective ozone layer high in the atmosphere. Now, organizations around the world track the infamous ozone hole through these ballon-sondes, satellite measurements and ground instruments.
Earth is breathing deeper: Multi-agency study reveals widening seasonal swings in CO2 in the Northern Hemisphere
August 12, 2013

Earth is breathing deeper: Multi-agency study reveals widening seasonal swings in CO2 in the Northern Hemisphere

Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rise and fall annually as plants take up the gas in spring and summer and release it in fall and winter through photosynthesis and respiration. Now the range of that cycle is growing as more CO2 is emitted from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities, according to a study published in Science by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, with CIRES and NOAA co-authors.
CIRES, NOAA observe significant methane leaks in a Utah natural gas field
August 7, 2013

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

On a 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 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.
Greenhouse gases continue climbing; 2012 a record year
August 1, 2013

Greenhouse gases continue climbing; 2012 a record year

NOAA's updated Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), which measures the direct climate influence of many heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide and methane, shows 2012 continued the steady upward trend that began with the Industrial Revolution of the 1880s. Last year, CO2 at the peak of its cycle reached 400 ppm for one month at all eight Arctic sites for the first time.