THE NASA ATMOSPHERIC TOMOGRAPHY (ATom) MISSION: Imaging the Chemistry of the Global Atmosphere

Chelsea R. Thompson1, Steven C. Wofsy2, Michael J. Prather3, Paul A. Newman4, Thomas F. Hanisco5, Thomas B. Ryerson6, David W. Fahey7, Eric C. Apel8, Charles A. Brock9, William H. Brune10, Karl Froyd11, Joseph M. Katich12, Julie M. Nicely13, Jeff Peischl14, Eric Ray15, Patrick R. Veres16, Siyuan Wang17, Hannah M. Allen18, Elizabeth Asher19, Huisheng Bian20, Donald Blake21, Ilann Bourgeois22, John Budney23, T. Paul Bui24, Amy Butler25, Pedro Campuzano-Jost26, Cecilia Chang27, Mian Chin28, RóISíN Commane29, Gus Correa30, John D. Crounse31, Bruce Daube32, Jack E. Dibb33, Joshua P. Digangi34, Glenn S. Diskin35, Maximilian Dollner36, James W. Elkins37, Arlene M. Fiore38, Clare M. Flynn39, Hao Guo40, Samuel R. Hall41, Reem A. Hannun42, Alan Hills43, Eric J. Hintsa44, Alma Hodzic45, Rebecca S. Hornbrook46, L. Greg Huey47, Jose L. Jimenez48, Ralph F. Keeling49, Michelle J. Kim50, Agnieszka Kupc51, Forrest Lacey52, Leslie R. Lait53, Jean-Francois Lamarque54, Junhua Liu55, Kathryn Mckain56, Simone Meinardi57, David O. Miller58, Stephen A. Montzka59, Fred L. Moore60, Eric J. Morgan61, Daniel M. Murphy62, Lee T. Murray63, Benjamin A. Nault64, J. Andrew Neuman65, Louis Nguyen66, Yenny Gonzalez67, Andrew Rollins68, Karen Rosenlof69, Maryann Sargent70, Gregory Schill71, Joshua P. Schwarz72, Jason M. St. Clair73, Stephen D. Steenrod74, Britton B. Stephens75, Susan E. Strahan76, Sarah A. Strode77, Colm Sweeney78, Alexander B. Thames79, Kirk Ullmann80, Nicholas Wagner81, Rodney Weber82, Bernadett Weinzierl83, Paul O. Wennberg84, Christina J. Williamson85, Glenn M. Wolfe86, and Linghan Zeng87
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  • 1 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory and University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • | 3 University of California Irvine, Irvine, California
  • | 4 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 5 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 6 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 7 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 8 National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado
  • | 9 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 10 Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
  • | 11 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory and University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 12 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory and University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 13 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland and University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
  • | 14 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory and University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 15 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory and University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 16 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 17 National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado
  • | 18 California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
  • | 19 National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado
  • | 20 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland and University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
  • | 21 University of California Irvine, Irvine, California
  • | 22 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory and University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 23 Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • | 24 NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California
  • | 25 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 26 University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 27 NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California
  • | 28 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 29 Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • | 30 Columbia University, Palisades, New York
  • | 31 California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
  • | 32 Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • | 33 University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
  • | 34 NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
  • | 35 NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
  • | 36 University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  • | 37 NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 38 Columbia University, Palisades, New York
  • | 39 University of California Irvine, Irvine, California
  • | 40 University of California Irvine, Irvine, California
  • | 41 National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado
  • | 42 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland and University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
  • | 43 National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado
  • | 44 NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory and University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 45 National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado
  • | 46 National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado
  • | 47 Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
  • | 48 University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 49 Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California
  • | 50 California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
  • | 51 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado and University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  • | 52 National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado
  • | 53 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland and Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Lanham, Maryland
  • | 54 National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado
  • | 55 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland and Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, Maryland
  • | 56 NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory and University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 57 University of California Irvine, Irvine, California
  • | 58 Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
  • | 59 NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 60 NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory and University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 61 Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California
  • | 62 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 63 University of Rochester, Rochester, New York
  • | 64 University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 65 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory and University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 66 NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
  • | 67
  • | 68 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 69 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 70 Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • | 71 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory and University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 72 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 73 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland and University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
  • | 74 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland and Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, Maryland
  • | 75 National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado
  • | 76 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland and Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, Maryland
  • | 77 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland and Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, Maryland
  • | 78 NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 79 Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
  • | 80 National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado
  • | 81 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory and University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 82 Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
  • | 83 University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  • | 84 California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
  • | 85 NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory and University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 86 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 87 Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
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Abstract

This article provides an overview of the NASA Atmospheric Tomography (ATom) mission and a summary of selected scientific findings to date. ATom was an airborne measurements and modeling campaign aimed at characterizing the composition and chemistry of the troposphere over the most remote regions of the Pacific, Southern, Atlantic, and Arctic Oceans, and examining the impact of anthropogenic and natural emissions on a global scale. These remote regions dominate global chemical reactivity and are exceptionally important for global air quality and climate. ATom data provide the in situ measurements needed to understand the range of chemical species and their reactions, and to test satellite remote sensing observations and global models over large regions of the remote atmosphere. Lack of data in these regions, particularly over the oceans, has limited our understanding of how atmospheric composition is changing in response to shifting anthropogenic emissions and physical climate change. ATom was designed as a global-scale tomographic sampling mission with extensive geographic and seasonal coverage, tropospheric vertical profiling, and detailed speciation of reactive compounds and pollution tracers. ATom flew the NASA DC-8 research aircraft over four seasons to collect a comprehensive suite of measurements of gases, aerosols, and radical species from the remote troposphere and lower stratosphere on four global circuits from 2016 to 2018. Flights maintained near-continuous vertical profiling of 0.15 – 13 km altitudes on long meridional transects of the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean basins. Analysis and modeling of ATom data have led to the significant early findings highlighted here.

CURRENT AFFILIATION: Columbia University, Palisades, New York

CURRENT AFFILIATION: Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

CURRENT AFFILIATION: NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory and University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado

CURRENT AFFILIATION: Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica, Massachusetts

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Chelsea R. Thompson, chelsea.thompson@noaa.gov

Abstract

This article provides an overview of the NASA Atmospheric Tomography (ATom) mission and a summary of selected scientific findings to date. ATom was an airborne measurements and modeling campaign aimed at characterizing the composition and chemistry of the troposphere over the most remote regions of the Pacific, Southern, Atlantic, and Arctic Oceans, and examining the impact of anthropogenic and natural emissions on a global scale. These remote regions dominate global chemical reactivity and are exceptionally important for global air quality and climate. ATom data provide the in situ measurements needed to understand the range of chemical species and their reactions, and to test satellite remote sensing observations and global models over large regions of the remote atmosphere. Lack of data in these regions, particularly over the oceans, has limited our understanding of how atmospheric composition is changing in response to shifting anthropogenic emissions and physical climate change. ATom was designed as a global-scale tomographic sampling mission with extensive geographic and seasonal coverage, tropospheric vertical profiling, and detailed speciation of reactive compounds and pollution tracers. ATom flew the NASA DC-8 research aircraft over four seasons to collect a comprehensive suite of measurements of gases, aerosols, and radical species from the remote troposphere and lower stratosphere on four global circuits from 2016 to 2018. Flights maintained near-continuous vertical profiling of 0.15 – 13 km altitudes on long meridional transects of the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean basins. Analysis and modeling of ATom data have led to the significant early findings highlighted here.

CURRENT AFFILIATION: Columbia University, Palisades, New York

CURRENT AFFILIATION: Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

CURRENT AFFILIATION: NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory and University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado

CURRENT AFFILIATION: Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica, Massachusetts

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Chelsea R. Thompson, chelsea.thompson@noaa.gov
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