In parts of California and Oregon, 2013 was the driest calendar year on record, with no sign of relief on the horizon. NCAR scientists are examining how water and energy use intersect across this drought-prone region and how the nexus could evolve in a future climate.
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.
Many facets of everyday life, from boarding a plane to turning on the lights or driving down the highway, are becoming safer and more cost-effective with the help of technologies rooted in atmospheric science.
There’s much more to wind energy than throwing a few turbines up and watching the blades spin and the cash roll in. NCAR and partners are adding rigor and efficiency to wind power prediction and resource assessment.
New research from NCAR is helping wind energy developers determine the best potential sites for capturing wind. Energy companies can lose money if they install turbines where winds are either too low to generate much power or so high that the turbines often need to be shut down to avoid damage.
The less-than-predicted amount of oil reaching coastlines after the Deepwater Horizon spill illuminates the difference between a projection and an actual forecast and
the challenges of making short-term projections of natural processes that can act chaotically.
Bret Harper, Consultant • Harper's graduate study focused on wind climatology, but he works on a variety of questions as a consultant, including hydroelectric feasibility studies, dam inspections, and integrated resource planning.
Accurate, high-resolution weather forecasts are a critical part of wind energy production. In December, UCAR signed an agreement with Xcel Energy to develop a wind prediction system for the company’s wind energy farms in Colorado, Minnesota, and Texas.