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March 24, 2017
A new NOAA study shows that methane emissions from the United States did not grow significantly from 2000 to 2013 and are not likely to have been an important driver of the increase in atmospheric methane levels observed worldwide after 2007, as other studies have suggested.
March 13, 2017
Carbon dioxide levels measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Baseline Atmospheric Observatory rose by 3 parts per million to 405.1 parts per million (ppm) in 2016, an increase that matched the record jump observed in 2015.
October 6, 2016
Methane emissions from fossil fuel development around the world are up to 60 percent greater than estimated by previous studies, according to new research led by scientists from NOAA and CIRES.
October 3, 2016
Carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere passed a troubling milestone for good this summer, locking in levels of the heat-trapping gas not seen for millions of years.
Every year, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) rises during winter and then falls slightly during the Northern Hemisphere’s growing season, as plants take up this greenhouse gas during photosynthesis.
But this year, for the first time since before the Ice Age, CO2 will not fall below 400 ppm.
September 22, 2016
Brad Hall, a research scientist in the Global Monitoring Division of NOAA/ESRL, has been named a winner of the 2016 Governor's Award for High-Impact Research for his work on improving existing techniques to make calibration standards and measurements of very low concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone-depleting gases like chlorofluorocarbons.
August 2, 2016
Using measurements taken worldwide, scientists estimated that 2015’s global average carbon dioxide concentration was 399.4 parts per million (ppm), a new record high. At Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawai’i, where atmospheric carbon dioxide has been recorded longer than anywhere else in the world, the annual average carbon dioxide concentration was 400.8—also a new record, and a new milestone.
July 8, 2016
The Atmospheric Tomography Mission (ATom) is a NASA-funded multi-agency effort using the NASA DC-8 research aircraft to systematically sample trace gases and aerosols from sea level to the stratosphere on 10 pole-to-pole flights covering the Atlantic and Pacific oceans over the next 3 years. ATom will study the impact of human-produced air pollution on greenhouse gases and on chemically reactive gases in the atmosphere with a focus on ozone, methane, and black carbon, as well as atmospheric particulate matter.
June 22, 2016
Analysis of nearly three decades of air samples from Alaska’s North Slope shows little change in long-term methane emissions despite significant Arctic warming over that time period, according to new research published in Geophysical Research Letters.
June 15, 2016
The Earth passed another unfortunate milestone May 23 when carbon dioxide surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) at the South Pole for the first time in 4 million years.
May 18, 2016
Human activity has increased the direct warming effect of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere by 50 percent above pre-industrial levels during the past 25 years, according to NOAA's 10th Annual Greenhouse Gas Index .
March 10, 2016
The annual growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii jumped by 3.05 parts per million during 2015, the largest year-to-year increase in 56 years of research.
February 5, 2016
NOAA/ESRL's Global Monitoring Division has introduced a 'Trends in Atmospheric Methane' web page. Similar to the existing 'Trends in Carbon Dioxide' web page, it displays graphs and data for the most recent globally averaged CH4
September 10, 2015
Since 2002, the Southern Ocean has been removing more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, according to two new studies. These studies make use of millions of ship-based observations and a variety of data analysis techniques to conclude that the Southern Ocean has increasingly taken up more CO2 during the last 13 years.
July 16, 2015
About 170,000 pounds (76,000 kg) of the greenhouse gas methane leak per hour from the Barnett Shale region of Texas, including the urban areas of Dallas and Fort Worth, according to a new study led by NOAA/ESRL and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) researchers.
May 6, 2015
For the first time since we began tracking carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere, the monthly global average concentration of this greenhouse gas surpassed 400 parts per million in March 2015, according to NOAA’s latest results.
April 7, 2015
A team of scientific investigators is now in the Four Corners region of the U.S. Southwest, an area where the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet at one point, aiming to uncover reasons for a mysterious methane hotspot detected from space by a European satellite. The joint project is working to solve the mystery from the air, on the ground, and with mobile laboratories.
September 1, 2014
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.
July 13, 2014
On May 9, 2013, the daily average concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, where the modern record of observations began back in 1958. Other Northern Hemisphere sites also reported CO2 concentrations exceeding 400 ppm in 2013. By summer, the high concentrations at these sites had dropped as vegetation began taking up carbon dioxide for photosynthesis.
July 8, 2014
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.
June 2, 2014
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.
May 22, 2014
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.
May 7, 2014
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.
May 2, 2014
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.
March 21, 2014
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.
February 12, 2014
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.
February 7, 2014
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.
October 24, 2013
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.
August 12, 2013
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.
August 7, 2013
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.
August 1, 2013
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.
July 24, 2013
40 years ago, on July 24, 1973, NOAA’s atmospheric observatory in Barrow, Alaska—the U.S.’ northernmost city, located at the tip of the North Slope—began measurements of carbon dioxide pollution with a continuous analyzer, providing one of the world’s most important records of this potent heat-trapping gas.
May 10, 2013
On May 9, the daily mean concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Mauna Loa, Hawaii, surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time since measurements began in 1958.
August 22, 2012
Levels of atmospheric methane have puzzled researchers in recent decades, first rising steadily due to human activities, then stabilizing for about decade starting in the mid-1990s before rising again in the last four years. Now, a new paper by academic researchers and a NOAA scientist identifies one reason for the period of slow-to-no growth: Decreased leakage of natural gas from oil fields.
August 2, 2012
Earth's oceans, forests and other ecosystems continue to soak up about half the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by human activities, even as those emissions have increased, according to a study by University of Colorado and NOAA scientists.
May 31, 2012
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Barrow, Alaska, has reached a new milestone this spring, according to NOAA measurements.
February 27, 2012
When NOAA scientists began routinely monitoring the atmosphere’s composition at a tower north of Denver a few years ago, their instruments immediately sniffed something strange: plumes of air rich with chemical pollutants including the potent greenhouse gas methane.
November 9, 2011
NOAA’s updated Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), which measures the direct climate influence of many greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, shows a continued steady upward trend that began with the Industrial Revolution of the 1880s.
September 19, 2011
On September 10, 2011, NOAA and CIRES scientists and engineers teamed up with the non-profit group Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS) to launch three AirCore samplers of varying sizes and material coatings. The resulting data set shows excellent agreement between the three samples for CO2, CH4, and CO, and also characterizes some regions of atmospheric variability.
December 16, 2010
For his work in expanding our understanding of the global carbon cycle and raising awareness for climate change, Pieter Tans, Ph.D., was awarded the Roger Revelle Medal at the 2010 fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.