National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

What's New

Carbon Dioxide TAO Buoy
October 13, 2017

In a new study published in Science, NOAA and NASA scientists used space-borne observations of carbon dioxide (CO2) from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 satellite, or OCO-2, to characterize the tropical atmospheric CO2 response to the strong El Niño event of 2015-2016.  The El Niño provided NASA and NOAA an unprecedented opportunity to test the effectiveness of this new observation tool. OCO-2 is NASA’s first satellite designed to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide with the precision, resolution, and coverage necessary to quantify regional carbon sources and sinks.

Observations of carbon dioxide concentrations over the tropical Pacific from the satellite were validated by data from NOAA’s Tropical Pacific Observing System of buoys, which directly measure carbon dioxide concentrations at the surface of the ocean. Both observing systems showed that in the early months of the El Niño, during the spring of 2015, outgassing of carbon dioxide over the tropical Pacific Ocean significantly declined by 26 to 54 percent.“This response is consistent with what we expect from a theoretical understanding, and comparable to what the NOAA data suggests,” said Richard Feely, senior scientist at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, who is a co-author on the paper.  

This research is part of a series of studies to better understand the growth of carbon dioxide concentrations in the global atmosphere using the new NASA satellite.  The studies show how various regions contribute to those emissions or serve as sinks, absorbing carbon dioxide emissions at different times. 

Read more here and access the paper here

PMEL in the News

October 18, 2017

Warming in Arctic ecosystems over the last several decades threatens animals and people alike, while melting ice has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in maritime activity. Yet study of the Arctic has been limited by its location and extreme weather conditions. New technologies and...

September 27, 2017

NOAA researchers embarked from Dutch Harbor on September 22, hoping to witness changing colors in the Bering Sea and gather more samples for a continuing investigation in what these changes mean for an ecosystem critical to one of the nation’s biggest fisheries.

September 26, 2017

There is a quirky phenomenon where the waters of the Kenai turn a bright turquoise blue, making them some of the most striking waters in the state.  Scientists say that the brilliant colors are created by sediments that come off of the glaciers.