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ESRL News

2007 Stories

CarbonTracker map of carbon dioxide absorption.

2002 Drought Left Millions of Tons of Extra Carbon Dioxide in Earth's Atmosphere
November 26, 2007
A new NOAA study, appearing in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows how a prolonged drought in North America in 2002 cut the continent's natural uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) in half, leaving more than 360 million tons (330 million metric tons) more of the heat-trapping greenhouse gas in Earth's atmosphere. The amount not absorbed that year is equivalent to annual emissions from more than 200 million U.S. automobiles.
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CO2 data curve

NOAA Celebrates 50-Year Carbon Dioxide Record
November 26, 2007
Fifty years ago the U.S. Weather Bureau, predecessor of NOAA's National Weather Service, sponsored a young scientist from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to begin tracking carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere at two of the planet's most remote and pristine sites: the South Pole and the summit of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. This week NOAA, Scripps, the World Meteorological Organization, and other organizations will celebrate the half-century anniversary of the global record of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere -- often referred to as the "Keeling Curve" in honor of that young scientist, Charles David Keeling.
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NOAA 200 Logo

Join ESRL in Celebrating 200 Years of Science, Services and Stewardship
November 9, 2007
On November 9, 2007 NOAA in Boulder will celebrate and commemorate NOAA science, from its beginnings in the early explorations of our hemisphere, through its evolution as a preeminent science agency, and forward to its future role in the understanding and prediction of the Earth system.
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Satellite image of ozone hole.

Antarctic Ozone Hole Returns to Near Average Levels
November 1, 2007
The size of this year's Antarctic ozone hole is slightly above the 10-year average in both depth and overall area, NOAA scientists announced today. Last year's ozone hole broke records for both ozone loss within the critical layer and for the size of the area affected.
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Mauna Loa Observatory

Conference Marks 50th Anniversary of Global CO2 Record
November 2007
The 50th anniversary of the global CO2 record, begun by Dr. Charles David Keeling at the South Pole and in Hawaii in 1957, will be celebrated at a symposium in Kona, Hawaii, near the Mauna Loa Observatory, on 28-30 November 2007. This conference brings together leaders of business, government, and science to discuss the global CO2 record, climate change, and what is needed from future CO2 measurement systems to monitor the efficacy of mitigation efforts.
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Nobel Peace Prize 2007 -  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold Gore Jr.

IPCC and Al Gore Share Nobel Peace Prize
October 12, 2007
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has announced that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 is to be shared, in two equal parts, between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. for "their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."
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Dr. A.R. Ravishankara presenting the 2006 Scientific Assessment Panel report.

A.R. Ravishankara Selected Cochair of the Scientific Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol
September 24, 2007
Dr. A.R. Ravishankara, Director of ESRL's Chemical Sciences Division, was selected on September 21 as Cochair of the Scientific Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol.
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Image from animation showing development of the ozone hole and projected recovery.

NOAA Observes the 20th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol
September 16, 2007
Greenhouse gases likely accounted for more than half of the widespread warmth across the continental United States last year, according to a new study by four scientists at NOAA's Earth System Research Lab in Boulder, Colo. Last year's average temperature was the second highest since record-keeping began in 1895. The team found that it was very unlikely that the 2006 El Niño played any role, though other natural factors likely contributed to the unusual warmth. The findings will appear September 5 in the Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.
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Map showing above normal annual temperatures in 2006.

Greenhouse Gases Likely Drove Near-Record U.S. Warmth in 2006
August 28, 2007
Greenhouse gases likely accounted for more than half of the widespread warmth across the continental United States last year, according to a new study by four scientists at NOAA.
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Staff working on tall tower.

Tall Tower to Track Front Range Carbon Emissions and Air Quality
July 31, 2007
A new sensor in what will be a broad nationwide network for tracking carbon is now monitoring the air over Colorado's Front Range. A 1,000-foot-high tower east of Erie is one of 12 "tall towers" being instrumented by NOAA to capture the regional ebb and flow of atmospheric carbon.
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Cruise track on map of sea surface temperature.

Gulf of Mexico and East Coast Carbon Cruise
July 27, 2007
Researchers from NOAA, the University of Colorado and Columbia University perform research on direct measurements of air-sea gas transfer forcing and measurements of CO2 and ozone flux by eddy correlation as part of the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast Carbon Cruise (GEOMECC).
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NASA WB-57 Aircraft

Scientists Search Tropical Skies for Answers on Climate Change and Ozone Loss
June 26, 2007
Scientists from NOAA's Earth System Research Lab will be among 400 researchers in Costa Rica this summer to probe one of the most complex and least observed regions of Earth's atmosphere during the rainy season. Based in San Jose, Costa Rica, the NASA-led field study will shed light on key processes related to climate change, the stratospheric ozone layer, and global chemistry.
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EPA Logo

Scientists Receive EPA Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award
May 17, 2007
NOAA scientists awarded EPA Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award award for "Measuring the effectiveness of the Montreal Protocol in Reducing Chlorine/Bromine Loading and Repairing the Ozone Layer".
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Map of virtual island.

NOAA Lab Opens 3-D Earth Site in Online Virtual World
April 26, 2007
Soar through a hurricane on the wing of a research aircraft, rise gently through the atmosphere atop a weather balloon, or search for a hidden underwater cave on a side trip from a NOAA submersible. These and other virtual adventures are attracting large numbers of “avatars,” or virtual selves, to one of the first government-sponsored, Earth-science “islands” in the rapidly growing online world of Second Life.
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Weather station in Tiksi, Russia

New NOAA Climate Observatory in Russia Closes Gap in Arctic Research
April 19, 2007
The Earth System Research Laboratory will expand its Arctic observation with the addition of a new location in Tiksi, Russia, joining five existing obsesrvatories placed internationally along the Arctic rim. It will be an important component of the Arctic Atmospheric Observatory Program, closing a significant gap in vital Arctic atmospheric research. Construction of the climate observatory will begin this summer. Full Story »»


Carbon sources and sinks in the western hemisphere.

Carbon Tracker a Powerful New Tool to Track Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide by Source
March 21, 2007
Scientists from the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory announced today a new tool to monitor changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by region and source. The tool, called CarbonTracker, will enable its users to evaluate the effectiveness of their efforts to reduce or store carbon emissions.
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Map of U.S. regional improvement in GPS accuracy.

ESRL Science Making a Difference in Real-time GPS Positioning
March 18, 2007
Recognizing the importance of high resolution measurements to surveying and navigation, ESRL scientists have developed NOAATrop, an atmospheric model which uses realtime weather data to improve GPS accuracy. The California Spatial Reference Center (CSRC) at Scripps Institution of Oceanography recently started using NOAATrop for real-time engineering applications in southern California. "This is the first known operational application of a weather model being used to improve high accuracy GPS surveying," said NOAA scientist Seth Gutman.
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Satellite view of Atmospheric River and sites of subsequent flooding.

NOAA Studies Causes of Catastrophic Urban Floods
March 14, 2007
Researchers from the NOAA Earth System Research Lab are intensively monitoring air, water and soil in the American River basin between Reno, Nev., and Sacramento, Calif., through the end of March. Working closely with NOAA National Weather Service forecasters and hydrologists, scientists are improving predictions of California's heavy winter rains to help water resource managers prevent catastrophic flooding in the Sacramento region. New sensors, computer models and other tools tested during the study, called the Hydrometeorology Testbed (HMT), eventually will be used to improve NOAA National Weather Service rainfall forecasts up and down the West Coast.
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Satellite view of ozone hole.

Protecting Earth's Ozone Layer Also Helped Slow Climate Change
March 9, 2007
An international agreement to reduce ozone-depleting chemicals, based in part on science conducted in the 1980s by NOAA scientists and their colleagues, also has slowed global warming by years, according to a new study by scientists at the NOAA Earth System Research Lab and their partners. The double effect occurred because compounds that destroy the atmosphere's ozone layer also act as greenhouse gases. The findings will be available in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online edition this week.
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Cover of IPCC WG1 report.

NOAA Support for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): People, Expertise and Technology
February 2, 2007
NOAA individuals and technology made major contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) international climate science report, of which the summary of the first chapter was released today in Paris. That summary, the Summary for Policy Makers, was subjected to line-by-line approval of the participating governments. The IPCC was created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program to every six years assess the risk of human-induced climate change, potential impact and options for adaptation and mitigation. The report is issued throughout the year through the release of three chapters culminating in a synthesis report in November.
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