News from UCAR Members

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While studying a ground-nesting bird population near El Reno, Okla., a University of Oklahoma-led research team found that stress during a severe weather outbreak in May 2013, had manifested itself into malformations in the growing feathers of young birds.

Grasshopper sparrow in the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, Missouri.  Photograph by Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren.

It is no surprise that Arctic sea ice is thinning. What is new is just how long, how steadily, and how much it has declined. 

On June 5, 2001, the USS Scranton surfaced at the North Pole through almost four feet of ice. The new study uses submarine records to help track decades of thinning. U.S. Navy

A powerful method for analyzing and predicting nature’s dynamic and interconnected systems is now providing new forecasting and management tools for Canada’s premier fishery.

Mature Sockeye Salmon approach their spawning grounds in the Fraser watershed, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Shane Kalyn

Rejoice icicle lovers. Dr. Freeze has delivered his magnum opus. Stephen Morris, a professor of physics at the University of Toronto, does not call himself Dr. Freeze. But by his own admission, he is obsessed with icicles.

Dr. Stephen W. Morris has been researching icicles and their formation for a number of years and is likely the only person in this field of research. The computer monitor shows a collection of photographs of icicles made with this machine. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Ever notice an earthy smell in the air after a light rain? Now scientists at MIT believe they may have identified the mechanism that releases this aroma, as well as other aerosols, into the environment.

Aerosol generation after drop impingement on porous media is a three-step process, consisting of bubble formation, bubble growth, and bubble bursting.  Image courtesy of Youngsoo Joung

To accurately forecast wintertime bad air days in Utah’s Uintah Basin, researchers must use real atmospheric measurements to estimate chemical emissions from nearby oil and natural gas fields, a new study in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics has found. 

Smoke from oil refinery

They've gathered more than 10 years of hour-by-hour weather observations and domestic fight data, and are using advanced data analytics to spot patterns and help airlines manage more efficiently.  While the project uses public data that has been available for years, its size and scope make it unique, says Brian Lemay, a U-M doctoral student in industrial and operations engineering who leads the project.

A map showing weather patterns in the lower right, while a larger U.S. map shows corresponding flight delays.

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.

A new study shows that the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide that contributed to the end of the last ice age did not occur gradually, but was characterized by three “pulses” in which C02 rose abruptly.

OSU scientists have examined air bubbles trapped in a new ice core that are providing them with some of the clearest indications of atmospheric conditions during the last ice age.

University of Wisconsin-Madison computer science researchers have developed a method for using social media posts to estimate air pollution levels with significant accuracy.

Pollution in China

A new study by Florida State University researchers demonstrates a different way of projecting a hurricane’s strength and intensity that could give the public a better idea of a storm’s potential for destruction.

In 1964, the Beatles took the world by storm, Lyndon Johnson won his second term as President—and NASA launched the first of seven Nimbus spacecraft to study Earth from space.

August 31, 1964 The First Picture From NASA Nimbus 1 Satellite

A new study debunks the idea that cyclones have no long-term, lasting economic impacts, and suggests the urgent need for revamping disaster policy around the world.

Global economic losses from cyclones linger for decades, study finds

Scientists analyzing 25-foot piles of ancient shells have found that the El Niños 10,000 years ago were as strong and frequent as the ones we experience today.

Matthieu Carré holds a 6,800-year-old mollusk collected from a site in Peru’s Ica valley.

The research will examine the potential long-term effects of Sandy on the health and well-being of state residents exposed to the storm and also shed light on what has helped or hindered people in their ongoing recovery.

A bulldozer in front of destroyed homes on January 13, 2013, in Lavallette, New Jersey.

Video games have the potential to educate the public and encourage development of creative solutions to social, economic and environmental problems.

Video game controllers

Water has always been important to Texas, but perhaps never more than now.  But Texas faces numerous water issues, and none may be bigger than the drought which has enveloped much of the state for years.

Texas’ severe drought is still going strong

Researchers at Colorado State University are  examining the atmospheric effects of smoke from cookstoves, which are used by 3 billion people worldwide for heating, lighting and cooking.


Corn yields in the central United States have become more sensitive to drought conditions in the past two decades.


Field of corn


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