Hello, I'm Linda Joy with NOAA Research Matters. In this five-part series, we're taking a look at what NOAA scientists have learned about climate through decades of study on the upper atmosphere. To do this topic justice, we have interviewed three NOAA scientists about pioneering research on trends and phenomena that take place in the atmosphere miles above our tallest skyscrapers.
"Our group at the Air Resources Lab focuses on the atmosphere from the surface of the earth extending up through the troposphere and into the stratosphere."
Dr. Dian Seidel is a research meteorologist in NOAA's Air Resources Lab.
"There's definitely a connection between what we experience at the ground, weather systems, precipitation, droughts, flood, heat waves and what's going on above the ground. They're very tightly coupled."
Dr. Seidel and her colleagues have collected several decades worth of temperature data from different levels in the atmosphere. They have used this record to uncover new knowledge about how events like El Niño and volcanic eruptions impact our weather and climate. The NOAA researchers have helped to show that changing atmospheric conditions correlate with changes in weather and climate at the surface. Their discoveries also provide an important context for climate change due to human activities, as physical scientist Melissa Free explains.
"One important motivation for our work regarding temperature trends above the surface is the idea that the pattern of those trends might be a fingerprint for distinguishing changes in climate that come from natural causes as opposed to those changes that are made by human intervention such as greenhouse gases."
In our next episode, we'll cover how scientists measure atmospheric temperature trends. I'm Linda Joy for NOAA Research Matters.
NOAA Air Resources Lab
NOAA Air Resources Lab Climate Change and Variability Analysis Group