Karl Froyd, a former CIRES scientist during the Atmospheric Tomography Mission, is strapped in his workstation aboard the NASA DC-8 during one of the flights. Measurements made by the PALMS instrument allowed the research team to document that desert dust is a major contributor to the formation of icy cirrus clouds. Credit: Dan Murphy, NOAA

Icy Cirrus Clouds Born From Desert Dust

Each year, several billion tonnes of mineral dust are lofted into the atmosphere from the world’s arid regions, making dust one of the most abundant...

Southern Ocean confirmed as strong carbon dioxide sink

Research published in recent years has suggested the Southern Ocean might be absorbing less carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere than previously t...

Aircraft Reveal a Surprisingly Strong Southern Ocean Carbon Sink

The Southern Ocean is indeed a significant carbon sink — absorbing a large amount of the excess carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by human ...

NASA-supported Study Confirms Importance of Southern Ocean for...

Observations from research aircraft show that the Southern Ocean absorbs much more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases, confirming it is a ver...

Douglas DC-8 experimental da NASA pousara hoje no Aeroporto do...

O Douglas DC-8 da NASA, uma aeronave experimental pertencente ao Centro de Pesquisa em Voo Armstrong, chegara hoje as 18h15 no Aeroporto Internacional...

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La Prensa Austral, 11 May 2018

Avion de la Nasa sobrevolo la Antarctica

Atmospheric Tomography Mission (Atom) es el proyecto de investigacion por el cual viajaron alrededor de 44 cientificos desde la Nasa en el avion DC-8 ...

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Avión de la Nasa sale a escanear la atmósfera sobre la Antártica

"El vuelo está planeado para durar aproximadamente 10 horas, saliendo a las 8 y retornando a Punta Arenas cerca de las 18. Usualmente llevamos alimen...

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All publicly available merged data sets from the ATom-1 (Jul-Aug 2016), ATom-2 (Jan-Feb 2017), ATom-3 (Sep-Oct 2017), and ATom-4 (Apr-May 2018) campaigns can be downloaded directly from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory DAAC at

Mission Overview
The Atmospheric Tomography Mission (ATom) will study the impact of human-produced air pollution on greenhouse gases and on chemically reactive gases in the atmosphere. Reductions of atmospheric concentrations of methane (CH4), tropospheric ozone (O3) and black carbon (BC) aerosols are effective measures to slow global warming and to improve air quality. Airborne instruments will look at how atmospheric chemistry is transformed by various air pollutants and at the impact on CH4 and O3. Mitigation of these short-lived climate forcers is a major component of current international policy discussions.
ATom deploys an extensive gas and aerosol payload on the NASA DC-8 aircraft for systematic, global-scale sampling of the atmosphere, profiling continuously from 0.2 to 12 km altitude. Flights will occur in each of 4 seasons over a 4-year period. They will originate from the Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California, fly north to the western Arctic, south to the South Pacific, east to the Atlantic, north to Greenland, and return to California across central North America. ATom establishes a single, contiguous global-scale data set. This comprehensive data set will be used to improve the representation of chemically reactive gases and short-lived climate forcers in global models of atmospheric chemistry and climate. Profiles of the reactive gases will also provide critical information for validation of satellite data, particularly in remote areas where in situ data is lacking.
ATom’s tomographic, large-scale sampling combined with parcel-by-parcel quantification of photochemical tendencies provides a strong response to the 2011 NASA Strategic Plan to Advance Earth System Science: meeting the challenges of climate and environmental change on a global scale.

ATom improves predictions of human-caused and natural changes in climate forcing and air quality over the entire globe, engaging the science Focus Areas: Atmospheric Composition (primary); Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems (role of CH4), and Climate Variability and Change (radiative forcing of CH4 and O3).

Principal Investigator: Steven Wofsy (Harvard University)
Project Manager: Dave Jordan (NASA ARC)
EVS-2 Mission Manager: Jennifer Olson (NASA LaRC)