December 17, 2014
The collaboration will expand visualization capabilities in the bio- and geosciences, thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation.
VAPOR scientific visualization of Hurricane Katrina
December 4, 2014
New research demonstrates that an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations thousands of years ago was a key factor in causing substantially more rainfall in two major regions of Africa.
Greenhouse gases & past African rain: Photo of Ubari Oasis in southern Libya

It was fishermen off the coast of Peru who first recognized the anomaly, hundreds of years ago. Every so often, their usually cold, nutrient-rich water would turn warm and the fish would disappear. Then there was the ceaseless rain.  They called it “El Niño” — The Boy, or Christmas Boy — because of its timing near the holiday.

Using state-of-the-art computer models maintained at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, researchers determined that El Niño has intensified over the last 6,000 years. This pier and cafe are in Ocean Beach, California.

Scientists now have an observational framework to help predict solar weather and how it will affect Earth.  "Now it's possible that we can have a space weather model that's like Earth's meteorology," says physicist Dr. S.T. Wu, distinguished professor emeritus of The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

An observation-based model presented in China by physicist Dr. S.T. Wu makes it possible to predict solar weather.
This year, readers focused considerable attention on the unusual midwinter cold across eastern North America and the intense drought in California, but many other topics captured interest as well. To get our stories in your inbox, sign up for email delivery.
By Jenny Varley (IMG_1340) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
November 18, 2014 | The urge to transform higher education through online technology is making its way into atmospheric science. Benefits as well as pitfalls came to light as faculty on the front lines of experimentation shared notes in a UCAR-hosted forum on October 16.
November 5, 2014 | Concentrations of hydrogen chloride (HCl), the main reservoir of chlorine in the stratosphere, have increased by several percent over much of the Northern Hemisphere since 2007, a new study finds. The observed buildup in HCl is attributed to a temporary shift in atmospheric circulation, rather than to any increased emission of the chlorine-containing, ozone-destroying compounds that are banned by the Montreal Protocol.
Ozone concentrations above the Arctic in March 2011
September 12, 2014 | In a finding that could alter how scientists quantify emissions of certain pollutants, a new study in Nature concludes that the self-cleaning power of the atmosphere does not differ substantially between the northern and southern hemispheres. The finding was surprising, as model simulations generally show that the hydroxyl molecule (OH)—the dominant “detergent” of the atmosphere that removes many pollutants by oxidizing them—is more common in the Northern Hemisphere.
View of Antarctic sky from NSF/NCAR HIAPER research jet
December 2, 2014 | It’s been a fascinating journey, watching how scientific and public views of El Niño have evolved over the last several decades.
A wall of dust swept across Melbourne, Australia, during the El Nino of 1983
November 10, 2014 | Old Man Winter seems to have gone maverick in the Northern Hemisphere over the last few years. Take 2014 as an example.
Map of land/ocean temperatures, departures from average, Feb 2014