ESRL Quarterly Newsletter - Fall 2010

The ESRL quarterly newsletter provides highlights of ESRL's diverse research programs and explains how these are integrated to form a more complete understanding of our Earth system. See the pdf version for the full listing.

Robbing the West of Water

New Study: Desert dust reduces Colorado River flow

Dark-colored dust that settles on snow in the Upper Colorado River Basin makes the snow melt early and robs the Colorado River of about five percent of its water each year, says a new study coauthored by ESRL and CIRES researchers. This quantity of lost water is nearly twice what the city of Las Vegas uses in a year, says study coauthor Brad Udall, director of the Western Water Assessment (WWA), a joint program of CIRES and ESRL. more...

Oscillating Clouds

ESRL scientists uncover oscillating patterns in clouds; finding has implications for climate change

Rain clouds within a large cloud field respond to signals from other clouds, much like chirping crickets or flashing fireflies on a summer night, according to a new ESRL-led study. Published in Nature in August,the finding has significant implications for our understanding of climate change. more...

tJet Roars to Life

New ESRL supercomputer supports hurricane research, including experimental FIM forecasts

Visitors to the home of tJet, one of NOAA’s most powerful new supercomputers, have to yell to be heard over the roar in the room. tJet is running simulations of tropical cyclones, and it seems as if the computer is invoking the sound of the storms. more...

Chinese Climate

ESRL hosts Chinese scientists working to build a national network of greenhouse gas measurements

How do you find leaks in a tank of precisely measured carbon dioxide? How often must instruments be calibrated, to ensure accuracy of atmospheric measurements?

A team of 16 meteorologists from the Chinese Meteorological Agency (CMA) visited ESRL in September, seeking answers to those and dozens of other questions. The delegation of scientists is hoping to expand CMA’s current network of five sites where CO2 and other greenhouse gases are measured consistently. more...

Testing the Wind

NOAA and Industry Partner to Improve Wind Energy Production

ESRL researchers will work closely with two wind forecasting companies during the next year, to see if high-resolution observations and forecasts of wind can improve the operation of wind farms and electric grid systems. more...

Director's Corner

"I've looked at clouds from both sides now..."

The words of a popular song written decades ago have relevance to the science going on today in ESRL. more...

By the Numbers

Los Angeles ozone reaches Colorado

1,000 miles: The distance that ozone and possibly other pollutants from the Los Angeles Basin can travel due to the “mountain chimney effect” of Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains, pictured. more...

Raindrops Keep Falling on my Disdrometer

ESRL partners with leading science museum to develop hands-on science exhibit

One overcast day in July, ESRL’s David Kingsmill watched raindrops falling on the rainbow-colored umbrella he held. This was a decidedly unusual rainstorm, however. The drops were not falling from the sky, but from a “rain chamber” outside the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Kingsmill (PSD) and ESRL colleagues are helping develop a new exhibit for the Exploratorium, an internationally acclaimed “museum of science, art and human perception.” more...

Pointing Fingers

When the weather gets weird, how to place blame?

Massive floods in Pakistan this summer uprooted 20 million people. A heat wave and wildfires in Russia conspired to kill thousands more. Nevada is hotter than ever.

Such news is distressing on many levels to Kelly Redmond, Deputy Director of the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, NV. First are the human lives and livelihoods lost. But there’s also the struggle of federal scientists to explain—on time scales of interest to policy makers and everyday people—what happened. more...

Model Students

ESRL scientists help lead summer school in Earth system modeling

For three days this summer, 25 students sat at computers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), running some of the most cutting-edge Earth system models around, models usually only accessible to experienced scientists. The students—from Colorado State University’s Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes (CMMAP) and other universities—listened to lectures and initiated model runs on a supercomputer. more...

Antarctic Ozone Hole Persists, At Least for Awhile

Major success in reducing ozone-depleting substances may not pay off in the Antarctic for several more years

August in Antarctica means the Sun starts rising over the horizon again, following four months of darkness. For NOAA Corps officer Nick Morgan (GMD), stationed at the South Pole, the month also marks the moment when he begins measuring ozone in earnest. more...

2009 Ozone-Depleting Gas Index

ESRL updates index to guide and monitor the recovery of the ozone layer

In September, ESRL’s Global Monitoring Division published the annual Ozone Depleting Gas Index (ODGI), which is a measure of overall atmospheric abundance of ozone-depleting chemicals called halons. ODGI is defined as 100 at the peak of halon levels (in 1994), and has been dropping steadily, due to the actions of an international treaty, the Montreal Protocol, and its amendments. More: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/odgi/. more...

International Environmental Success

2010 asessment of ozone layer highlights roles of climate change, lauds Montreal Protocol

Climate change and the ozone layer are intricately coupled, and climate change will become increasingly important to the future ozone layer as ozone-depleting substances diminish in the atmosphere. more ...

Sammie for Solomon

In recognition of pioneering work that altered the course of atmospheric research, ESRL senior scientist Susan Solomon (CSD) was awarded the Career Achievement Service to America medal September 15. more...

Achievement: News

More news from NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory: Tiksi Observatory, Climate Stabilization, Black Carbon in Profile, Prediction Workshop, Summer Students, Houston Emissions Down, Gulf Air Quality, 8th Grade Science Days. more...

Achievement: Honors

Three ESRL researchers received prestigious Gold Medals from the Department of Commerce this fall: Mark Cunningham (GMD) received a Department of Commerce Gold Medal “for heroic efforts treating injured Samoans following the 2009 tsunami and providing emergency power for the sole phone link in Eastern Samoa.” Susan Solomon (CSD) and Roger Pulwarty (PSD) shared a Group Gold Medal with several other NOAA colleagues, “for producing a major scientific report detailing the impacts of global climate change in the United States.& more...

Achievement: Publications

ESRL’s peer-reviewed publications are available in a searchable database: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/search/pubs/

Division Publication pages: