• 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 types of aerosol particles in the atmosphere. Now, scientists are learning that tiny bits of dust from the hottest and driest parts of the Earth are a surprisingly large driver in forming the delicate, wispy ice clouds known as cirrus in the cold, high altitudes of the atmosphere. 

  • 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 thought.  But a new study published this week in the journal Science confirms the role of the Southern Ocean as a significant carbon sink.

  • 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 activities — according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

  • NASA-supported Study Confirms Importance of Southern Ocean for Absorbing CO2

    Observations from research aircraft show that the Southern Ocean absorbs much more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases, confirming it is a very strong carbon sink and an important buffer for the effects of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new, NASA-supported study.

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

    O Douglas DC-8 da NASA, uma aeronave experimental pertencente ao Centro de Pesquisa em Voo Armstrong, chegara hoje as 18h15 no Aeroporto Internacional do Recife, representando a missao ATom e tambem um trafego aereo diferente nos dias atuais, visto que poucos DC-8 continuam operando no mundo.

  • 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 que llego a tierra magallanicas este lunes 7 de mayo con la mision principal de sobrevalor la Antarctica.

  • 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 alimentos, ya sea almuerzos en cajas o comprados en una tienda. Tenemos un microondas a bordo", cuenta Rebecca Hornbrook, investigadora del Centro Nacional de Investigación Atmosférica (NCAR) de Boulder, Colorado.

  • The Atmospheric Tomography, or ATom, mission is investigating the atmosphere above the remote oceans. Above the Atlantic ocean near Ascension Island, the research team saw haze from African fires during ATom’s February, 2017, flight. Credit: NASA

    Cloudy with a chance of chemistry

    The most important question at the daily briefing for NASA’s Atmospheric Tomography, or ATom, mission is: What are we flying through next? For the 30 scientists plus aircraft crew loaded up on NASA’s DC-8 flying research laboratory on a 10-flight journey around the world to survey the gases and particles in the atmosphere, knowing what’s ahead isn’t just about avoiding turbulence. It’s also about collecting the best data they can as they travel from the Arctic to the tropics then to the Antarctic and back again.

  • NASA’s flying laboratory seeks to understand atmosphere

    A suite of scientists are zig-zagging across the globe in a flying laboratory, a DC-8 research plane retrofitted to gulp the air we breathe. Soaring from the Arctic to Antarctica on flights crammed with valves, funnels and testing equipment, scientists from NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View and other labs capture greenhouse gases and gather data about pollution in Earth’s atmosphere. The final leg of the four-part expedition of the Atmospheric Tomography Mission, also known as ATom, will take off from Palmdale Thursday. Their mission: Give scientists important information about changes in the composition of gases in the atmosphere.

  • Researcher photographing the sea ice as the DC-8 flies over the Arctic January 2017. Credits: NASA / National Center for Atmospheric Research / Sam Hall

    NASA's World Tour of the Atmosphere Reveals Surprises Along the Way

    Two thirds of Earth's surface are covered by water — and two thirds of Earth's atmosphere reside over the oceans, far from land and the traditional ways that people measure the gases and pollutants that cycle through the air and around the globe. While satellites in space measuring the major gases can close some of that gap, it takes an aircraft to find out what's really happening in the chemistry of the air above the oceans. That's where NASA's Atmospheric Tomography (ATom) mission comes in.

  • Sampling lines outside the NASA DC-8 used for ATom. Credit: Benjamin Nault / CIRES

    Organic aerosols in remote areas have shorter lives than scientists assumed

    Ambient aerosols – those tiny mixtures of liquids and solids suspended in air – play important roles in Earth's climate, so much so that scientists are heading to remote locations to better understand them.

  • The inside of NASA' DC-8 is crammed with instrumentation and crew for the ATom mission. - Credit:Joe Katich, CIRES/NOAA

    NOAA, NASA team up again to investigate the atmosphere over Antarctica

    Thirty years after NASA and NOAA launched a groundbreaking airborne campaign to study the Antarctic ozone hole, the two federal science agencies have once again joined forces over the world’s highest, driest and coldest continent to sniff out the secrets of the atmosphere.

  • The ATom mission is surveying the world’s atmosphere to better understand how greenhouse gases and pollution are removed from the atmosphere. Credits: NASA

    Global Airborne Mission to Make Ozone Hole Detour

    Atmospheric researchers depart this month on NASA's DC-8 research aircraft on their third survey of the global atmosphere. Taking place for the first time in Northern Hemisphere fall, the season gives them the unique opportunity to make a detour from their previous flight paths to fly underneath the Antarctic ozone hole.

  • The NASA DC-8, flying airborne chemistry lab, does a test flight over the Rocky Mountain Metro Airport runway on Sept. 26, 2017 in Broomfield. Climate researchers in the DC-8 plane will soon fly from the North Pole to the South collecting data that will make global climate modeling more accurate. NOAA, NASA and Harvard have partnered in the mission. (Credit: RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)

    A CAT scan for the Earth: CU, NOAA scientists are looping around the globe in a NASA airliner to measure greenhouse pollutants

    Scientists treating Earth as a feverish patient are giving it the equivalent of a CAT scan, targeting short-life pollutants that spur climate change to try to find a remedy that dials back the heat.

  • A DC8 packed with atmospheric sensors and samplers is making four laps around the globe. Britt Stephens is among the scientists on the current leg. CREDIT CRAIG LEMOULT / WGBH

    Lab-in-a-Plane Making Four Laps Around the Globe

    The project is called the Atmospheric Tomography Mission (the acronym AToM is pronounced AY-tom, since it's not actually an atomic study). Basically, it's a DC8, crammed full of samplers and sensors, constantly measuring things like methane, carbon dioxide, and pollutants, as the plane flies around the globe, zig-zagging up and down between 500 ft and 30-40,000 feet.

  • Scientists and crew of DC-8 NASA aircraft with Nadi Muslim College science teacher Dinesh Goasi (second from right), and US Embassy Suva Regional Environmental Officer Mark Mineo (right), yesterday at Nadi International Airport. Photo: Arishma Devi-Narayan

    NASA Plane Lands At Nadi Airport

    In a first for Fiji, the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) DC-8 Airborne Science Laboratory aircraft landed at the Nadi International Airport on Saturday.

  • NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory is parked inside the FedEx hangar as scientists and mission personnel tend to instruments during a stop in Anchorage on Tuesday while on a 28-day round-the-world Atmospheric Tomography (ATom) mission. (Bill Roth / Alaska Dispatch News)

    NASA research flight around the world pauses in Anchorage

    Air pollution can be obvious when it is concentrated around cities and industrial centers. But what about the big parts of the atmosphere that are far from freeways or factories? Finding the answer to that question is the purpose of a NASA project that is sending an equipment-laden and scientist-packed DC-8 passenger jet around the world, over the middle of the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans, with brief stops in Anchorage and other locations.

  • NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory in Kona, Hawaii, on ATom’s first deployment in August 2016. Credits: NASA/Roisin Commane

    NASA Airborne Mission Chases Air Pollution Through the Seasons

    Earth is a planet that breathes with the seasons. In winter months atmospheric gases and air pollution accumulate, waiting dormant until spring and summer bring sunshine and plant-life, sparking transformations that change the make-up of gases in the atmosphere. A NASA airborne mission will take a world-wide survey of these seasonal transformations by flying from the heart of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, down into the sunny summer in the Southern Hemisphere and back again.

  • UC Irvine professor Donald Blake, a pioneer in collecting air samples and an expert in analytical atmospheric chemistry, displays an air collection canister in his lab at UCI last week. Blake is studying how air pollution affects greenhouse gases in the global atmosphere. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    UCI’s Don Blake travels the world searching for what we breathe

    Strapped into a NASA-modified DC-8, UC Irvine professor Donald Blake fiddles with some knobs on a crate that holds canisters that contain the key element of his career: Air.

  • DC-8 Airborne Laboratory in flight (NASA/Carla Thomas)

    NASA's flying laboratory going low over Lauder, Central Otago

    A NASA research plane carrying 42 scientists will fly over Central Otago next week on a mission to survey the atmosphere and measure pollution. NIWA atmospheric scientist Dave Pollard said the Atmospheric Tomography Mission (ATom) was the first of its kind to survey the atmosphere over the oceans, measuring how much pollution survived and assessing how the environment had changed as a result.

  • Probes on the outside of NASA's DC-8 aircraft to collect atmospheric samples. The DC-8 aircraft will be outfitted with 20 instruments for the ATom mission. Credits: NASA

    NASA's Airborne Mission to Explore the Global Atmosphere

    The Atmospheric Tomography, or ATom, mission is the first to survey the atmosphere over the oceans. Scientists aboard NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory will journey from the North Pole south over the Pacific Ocean to New Zealand and then across to the tip of South America and north up the Atlantic Ocean to Greenland. ATom will discover how much pollution survives to the most remote corners of the earth and assess how the environment has changed as a result.

  • Probes on the outside of NASA's DC-8 aircraft to collect atmospheric samples. Credit: NASA/Tony Landis.

    Airborne Study Surveys Greenhouse Gases in World Tour

    The first deployment of one of NASA's most ambitious research studies of Earth's atmosphere will take place this July and August. The Atmospheric Tomography mission will take off aboard the agency's DC-8 flying laboratory on a 26-day journey from the North Pole down the Pacific Ocean to New Zealand and then across to the tip of South America and back north up the Atlantic Ocean to the Arctic.

  • NASA's DC-8 aircraft will be outfitted with 20 instruments to measure the atmosphere for the ATom mission. Credits: NASA/Armstrong

    NASA's ATom Mission is Flying Around the World in 26 Days

    It's not a strict circumnavigation of the world, but NASA's Atmospheric Tomography, or ATom, mission to fly down the Pacific Ocean then up the Atlantic is about as close as it gets. Beginning July 28, 2016, NASA's flying laboratory aboard the DC-8 aircraft will journey with 42 scientists and operations crew on a 26-day journey from nearly pole to pole and back again. The first of four deployments that will take place over the next three years, they'll be measuring a suite of more than 200 gases as well as airborne particles from the remotest parts of the atmosphere to better understand the processes that govern how various greenhouse gases cycle around the world.

  • Goddard scientists Tom Hanisco (left) and Paul Newman (right) serve as science team co-investigators on NASA’s newest Earth Venture mission, the Atmospheric Tomography Mission (ATom). One of ATom’s instruments is a device (pictured here) that Hanisco developed to measure formaldehyde more efficiently.

    New Mission to Provide Snapshot of ‘Average’ Atmosphere

    A new NASA Earth Venture mission called the Atmospheric Tomography Mission (ATom) aims to provide a snapshot of the average atmosphere.  ATom will systematically measure reactive gases and aerosols over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, where the atmosphere is relatively clean and sensitive to change.