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Atmospheric Chemistry

Using a combination of satellite data, atmospheric models, and in situ observations, the Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory strives to understand the factors that control stratospheric ozone and trace gases that influence ozone, the anthropogenic and natural processes that control the composition of Earth's tropospheric trace gases and aerosols, and the impact of climate change on future composition.

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Space Missions


Aura (Latin for breeze) was launched July 15, 2004. Aura is part of the Earth Science Projects Division, a program dedicated to monitoring the complex interactions that affect the globe using NASA satellites and data systems. Aura's four instruments study the atmosphere's chemistry and dynamics. The satellite's measurements will enable scientists to investigate questions about ozone trends, air quality changes, and their linkage to climate change.


The restructured Joint Polar Satellite System (formerly -- National Polar-orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS)), will address NOAA’s requirements to provide global environmental data necessary for NOAA’s missions to monitor the earth, manage resources, support the Nation’s economy, and protect lives and property. source: NOAA

Field Campaigns

March 2022

In September 2021, NASA will deploy assets to the Houston, Texas region to measure air quality relevant constituents at high spatial and temporal resolutions. This effort will be conducted in partnership with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Department of Energy (DOE)-led Tracking Aerosol Convection interactions ExpeRiment (TRACER) campaign, and a number of academic collaborators.

March 2022

Fire emissions in the US are approximately half from Northwestern wildfires and half from prescribed fires that burn mostly in the Southeast US. Wildfires burn slightly more fuel and therefore have overall larger emissions, but prescribed fires dominate the area burned and the number of fires.


The international Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC) is composed of more than 70 globally distributed, ground-based, remote-sensing research stations with more than 160 currently active instruments.


The primary scientific objective is to provide time/height ozone measurements from near the surface to the top of the troposphere to describe in high-fidelity their spatio-temporal distribution. These high-fidelity measurements will provide the GEO-CAPE science team with accurate representations of the PBL and FT ozone structure as proxies for the high time resolved observations from a geosynchronous satellite.