ESRL Quarterly Newsletter - Summer 2009

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.

A modeled toxic plume.

Emergency Planning

ESRL helps develop a response system for airborne threats

Researchers are investigating ways to use research models to support emergency managers who must plan for and react to airborne threats, from tornadoes and flash floods to chemical releases.  more...

Climate for Forecasters

ESRL researchers discuss climate with Weather Service

ESRL researchers spent three days with National Weather Service forecasters in April, during a workshop designed to share scientific information about climate change, its impacts, and communicating with the public about the issues.  more...

Director’s Corner

Get ready! Things are changing in NOAA

Given increasing demand for NOAA’s core mission capabilities in weather (e.g., improved hurricane prediction) and climate (e.g., better understanding global change), there is a new emphasis on supporting the necessary people and equipment. We in ESRL bring a lot to this endeavor, and recent planning and funding activities demonstrate that the administration and Congress see us in a bigger and more important role.  more...


110 tons

of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions avoided in seven months, thanks to an expanded recycling program at the David Skaggs Research Center in Boulder. That’s equal to taking 20 cars off the road for a year. ESRL's Molly Heller investigates the science and economics of composting, and learns that the DSRC could save both greenhouse gas emissions and money by composting.  more...

Annual Greenhouse Gas Index 2008

New data show unrelenting rise in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases

The climate-warming gases carbon dioxide and methane continued to increase in the atmosphere last year, despite the global economic slump and a decrease in activities that consume fossil fuels.  more...

Researchers with instrument.

ASTER: Inventing an Instrument

ASTER - the Aerosol Scattering To Extinction Ratio instrument has been designed and built by ESRL to answer questions about the behavior of atmospheric aerosols and improve our predictions of how climate change will affect the Earth system.  more...

Monitoring Meeting

“21st Century Challenges for Long-Term Monitoring” draws atmospheric scientists from around the world

More than 250 people attended ESRL’s Global Monitoring Annual Conference in May, presenting dozens of talks and posters on atmospheric trends and analyses, many of them derived from ESRL-collected data. For three days, researchers from 19 countries discussed regional emissions of greenhouse gases, how best to interpret data showing a rise in global methane levels, and the dynamics and speed of the ozone layer’s recovery.  more...

Science to Ops

First NOAA Testbed Workshop draws innovators, operators

Nearly 70 weather and climate experts from around the country gathered at ESRL in April, for the First NOAA Testbed USWRP Workshop. In NOAA testbeds, researchers tackle serious, practical forecast challenges—improving flood forecasts in California, for example, or getting more lead-time on landfalling hurricanes.  more...

Researchers with instrument.

Virtual NOAA

Many visitors to NOAA in Second Life had never heard of the agency, but hope NOAA’s new media efforts will expand

A powerful tsunami kills no one in the online virtual world Second Life, and the house blown apart by waves reassembles itself within seconds. Glaciers that melt and flow into the ocean are quickly sculpted back into cold, hard ice. But visitors to NOAA’s Second Life exhibits still get the point.  more...

Powering Science

Coal-fired power plants help ESRL scientists and colleagues verify satellite pollution measurements

In a strange twist, polluting power plants in the West are actually helping advance air quality research. A new study by ESRL scientists and colleagues used the large pollution plumes from rural Western power plants to understand satellite measurements of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution over urban areas.  more...

Achievements, in Brief

Climate Report Contributions • CalWater Begins Early • Unmanned Aircraft Systems begin work in the Arctic • Volcanic Ash Tool Delivers • Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco visit • Summer Students Arrive • Climate-Changing Planes and much more...

Child learning about recycling.

Hundreds Attend NOAA Green Fair

“Bring Your Child Down to Earth Day” focused on science, fun

More than 300 people wandered through an outdoors tent featuring products and information from local green vendors, moved inside to watch presentations on ESRL’s unique visualization tool, Science On a Sphere®, and created flip-books to illustrate Arctic Sea ice loss. Kids also watched presentations of “Big Green Rabbit,” a television program about conservation.  more...