Atmospheric Sciences Competency, Science Directorate, Langley Research Center, NASA
Data Center Description
Researchers in Atmospheric Sciences at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, study the Earth's atmosphere and how human activities influence it for a better understanding of global change. Their research focuses primarily on the Earth's radiation balance and climate, atmospheric chemistry, and associated data management. They also support NASA's application programs and educational outreach activities.
The Chemistry and Dynamics Branch, the Radiation and Aerosols Branch, and the Atmospheric Sciences Data Center (ASDC) comprise Atmospheric Sciences. Scientists in the research branches participate in field experiments to validate Earth-orbiting satellites and study information gathered by satellite instruments for a better understanding of the atmosphere. They also collect information from ground-based instruments as well as those on aircraft and balloons. NASA data from satellite instruments and from other projects related to the radiation budget, clouds, aerosols, and tropospheric chemistry are available worldwide through the ASDC. In addition to supporting satellite-based missions, people also work on many other projects that build on the unique experiences and strengths of Langley's atmospheric scientists, engineers, and computer scientists.
Atmospheric science research at Langley can trace its beginnings to the Center's aeronautical studies. In the 1960s, scientists began exploring how atmospheric dynamics, density, and temperature varied with altitude to understand their affect on aircraft performance. Scientists expanded this effort in the 1970s to include atmospheric chemistry studies and shifted their research emphasis to environmental concerns. Rich in aeronautical heritage, Langley's atmospheric science research impacts how all of NASA studies the Earth.