Our Approach

CSL is composed of world-renowned scientists, experienced technical staff, committed support staff, world-class laboratory facilities, instrumentation and models, access to dedicated platforms, and dedicated resources to advance scientific understanding of the chemical and physical processes that affect Earth’s atmospheric chemistry and composition. By advancing scientific knowledge of the Earth's atmosphere, CSL responds to emerging and evolving societal issues related to air quality, climate, and the stratosphere.

atmospheric chemistry and climate research
Atmospheric Chemistry & Climate Research at the NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory (CSL)
Air Quality

Air Quality

CSL studies the processes that influence air quality on local, regional, and global scales to support informed air quality decision-making at local, state, national, and international levels. Air quality research encompasses the study of both directly emitted and secondary pollutants. The sources and the distribution of major anthropogenic (human-caused) emissions have changed dramatically over decades, continually redefining research needs. Secondary pollutants, such as ozone (O3) and particulate matter (PM), form through complex chemical reactions in the atmosphere and directly influence human health. Air quality impacts arise from a complex interaction of a wide array of natural and human-caused emissions, background atmospheric composition, meteorology, and long-range transport.

CSL air quality research has three focal points: (1) characterizing emissions and emission trends; (2) understanding chemical, physical, and radiative processes that influence atmospheric composition; and (3) boundary layer dynamics and transport processes at all scales, from local to global. Learn More

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CSL studies the processes that affect atmospheric composition and the impacts of those changes on Earth's climate system. CSL climate research focuses on the myriad of factors that determine Earth's climate. Research into the radiative, chemical, and dynamical processes that influence our current climate contribute to reducing major uncertainties in climate models and increase confidence in future climate projections.

CSL climate research has two focal points: (1) understanding aerosol and cloud radiative interactions in the climate system; and (2) characterizing the emissions, transport, chemical transformations, and distribution of key climate species. Learn More

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CSL improves understanding of stratospheric composition and chemistry and the impacts of stratospheric processes and changes on the troposphere (e.g., climate, weather, etc.)

CSL stratospheric research has four focal points: (1) developing and using instrumentation to measure key species such as ozone, black carbon, aerosol composition, water vapor, and sulfur dioxide; (2) understanding the chemistry, composition, and transport within the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere; (3) developing and using atmospheric models to understand the radiative and dynamical coupling of the stratosphere and troposphere; and (4) studying the relationship between climate change and changes in the stratosphere. Learn More

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