El Niño and La Niña are counterparts in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a cyclic warming and cooling of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean that exerts a major influence on global weather patterns, but they are not mirror images.
A team of scientists led by NCAR’s Keith Oleson has incorporated urban areas into a global climate model. The development is important because most models used for predicting future climate change do not account for the urban “heat island” effect.
On December 20, 2008, a Boeing 737 with Continental Airlines encountered a crosswind gust during takeoff at Denver International Airport, causing it to veer off the runway. Simulations done at NCAR indicate that a mountain lee wave amplified over DIA within minutes of the accident.
NCAR scientists are collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help fight plague in Uganda. Plague is believed to have been responsible for the Black Death pandemic that swept Europe in the 14th century, killing more than 25 million people.
A turbulence warning system alerting pilots landing at and departing from Juneau International Airport in southeast Alaska has taken a significant step toward completion with the integration of Federal Aviation Administration radio communications into the system.
In the spring of 2009, researchers on the Second Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment (VORTEX2) field project set out across the Great Plains to study tornadoes, but that’s not the only phenomenon they observed.
Cirrus clouds—thin strands or sheets usually composed of ice crystals—form high in the atmosphere. A new study led by NCAR scientist Steve Massie employs satellite technology to observe the clouds in greater detail than before.
After a very unusual tornado caused extensive damage along a 34-mile (55-kilometer) swath of northern Colorado in 2008, a team of scientists from NCAR and Colorado State University undertook a multidisciplinary study integrating meteorology, climatology, and social science.
A study that includes NCAR scientists suggests that plant leaves emit far less methane when exposed to sunlight than previously thought. The research estimates that foliage is the source of less than 1% of Earth’s methane emissions.
The greater Salt Lake City area is known for harboring some of the most polluted air in the country during the winter. A team of NCAR researchers is gearing up to collaborate on a study of the winter weather inversions that cause the city's poor air quality.
Solar scientists have long debated why the Sun's corona, or atmosphere, is millions of degrees hotter than its surface. Images retrieved by the Hinode satellite, launched in 2006, are shining some light on this paradox.
NCAR and university researchers are collaborating with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Federal Aviation Administration to study how bird-detecting radar at airports could help prevent dangerous airplane bird strikes.
The solar minimum that bottomed out from 2006 to 2010 was the longest and deepest since modern space observations began. Among other effects, it reorganized the areas of flux from open magnetic field lines that produce solar wind.
NCAR scientist Natasha Flyer is using an innovative method known as radial basis function (RBF) to model simple physical processes in the geosciences. The research is poised to offer a new way of solving equations that could significantly improve models used by atmospheric and solar scientists.
How do people and organizations respond to extreme weather events—in particular, flash floods? Flash floods are already on average the leading cause of weather-related fatalities in the United States and second most common worldwide.
Preliminary research at NCAR suggests that biological particles may contribute significantly to the mass of organic carbon stored in atmospheric aerosols. The study is an important step for scientists.
When it comes to global air pollution, what goes around comes around. Air pollution from factories, traffic, and power plants in Asia wafts over the Pacific Ocean to the United States, while pollutants produced in the United States wind up in Europe.