A team of researchers, including NCAR scientist Carl Schmitt, are climbing high in the Peruvian Andes to assess the extent to which the white ice is being darkened by ash and other particulates that are emitted by nearby industrial operations. The dark particles can accelerate glacial melting, eventually threatening runoff that supplies water for millions of South American residents.
Though we’re still more than two weeks from the end of 2012, it’s not too soon to get a sense of how the year will go down in meteorological annals. Some of the signals from January to November are so strong that December won’t change the outcome.
States are having to make tough decisions regarding their water use and their interaction with water. NCAR scientists are involved in collaborative projects in Colorado, Louisiana, and Oklahoma to evaluate the long-term effects of today’s decisions.
One of the largest bodies of water in the United States, the Ogallala Aquifer, lies underground. Crucial to life in the U.S. Great Plains, it's one of many aquifers around the world under stress as water demands increase. Satellite data are now painting a richer picture of how these water stores are evolving.
A multisatellite observing system that was only a gleam in researchers’ eyes in the 1990s is now a key tool for monitoring Earth’s atmosphere. An ambitious follow-up project could yield up to ten times the data gathered by the current satellites.