G-Rad is involved in observational and theoretical research of the Earth's surface and atmospheric radiation budgets. The group specializes in the investigation of climatically significant variations in long-term radiation and meteorological measurements made at diverse globally-remote sites and continental US sites (SURFRAD and SOLRAD). In addition, we make observations of spectral solar radiation for the purpose of remote sensing of certain atmospheric constituents and determination of variations in the UV irradiance. Our research interests include the extent and cause of observed radiation and climate variations, and in collaborating with other research groups making satellite observations and climate model calculations. A relatively new program in the group is the absolute measurement of spectral solar UV for the investigation of the interaction of ozone and solar radiation.
Aerosol measurements began at the GML baseline observatories in the mid-1970's. Since the inception of the program, scientific understanding of the behavior of atmospheric aerosols has improved considerably. One lesson learned is that human activities primarily influence aerosols on regional/continental scales rather than global scales. To address this, collaborations with colleagues within the US and around the world have resulted in the formation of the NOAA Federated Aerosol Network, the NFAN. The goals of this regional-scale monitoring program are to characterize means, variability, and trends of climate-forcing properties of different types of aerosols, and to understand the factors that control these properties. GML's measurements also provide ground-truth for satellite measurements and key aerosol parameters for evaluating earth system models.
Aerosol measurements have been made by the NOAA/ESRL Global Monitoring Division (GMD) at the Bondville Environmental and Atmospheric Research Site (BEARS) since June of 1994. In late October of 2017, the GMD aerosol monitoring system was moved from the aging, uninsulated sea container to a new temperature-controlled building about 80 meters away.
John A. Ogren, Patrick J. Sheridan and James W. Wendell of the Aerosol group in the ESRL Global Monitoring Division won the 2015 NOAA Technology Transfer Award, which recognizes achievements that are developed further as commercial applications, or that advance the transfer of NOAA science and technology to U.S. businesses, academia, other government and non-government entities.
The U.S Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot initiative is a collaborative effort with the goal to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of electricity by the end of the decade. As part of the SunShot Initiative, researchers from NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) are working to develop better short-term (hours to day-ahead) solar energy forecasts that will help improve the operation of the electric power grid and lower integration costs for solar power.