Atmospheres 2004 Technical Highlights: Cover Page

The seven images on the cover convey the interests and activities of the Laboratory for Atmospheres.

The center image of the Earth (from GOES-8) represents the Laboratory’s primary, but not exclusive, focus on Earth-related science.

Clockwise, from the top, the surrounding images are as follows:

  1. A balloon launch by Howard University students during a summer program at their Beltsville, Maryland facility. This image represents the substantial involvement of the Laboratory in Education and Outreach activities.
  2. Hurricane Ivan approaching Florida’s Gulf Coast on Sept. 15, 2004 (from GOES-12). This image represents Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes’ interest in understanding the physics and dynamics of atmospheric processes, in part, through the use of satellite-based observations. This focuses its research on all aspects of the hydrologic cycle, its connections to the global energy cycle, and associated weather hazards.
  3. Observation of the NO2 burden over the Eastern United States made in November 2004 by the OMI instrument aboard the Aura satellite. The red areas represent relatively polluted areas having burdens of the order of 5´1015 molecules/cm2. Several disciplines of interest to Laboratory scientists are supported by Aura observations.
  4. The Ozone Hole. This Earth Probe TOMS view of Antarctic ozone depletion (shown in purple) on October 5, 2004, the day of the ozone minimum, represents Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics’ interest in understanding and predicting the long-term evolution of the ozone layer and changes in global air quality caused by human activity.
  5. The massive smoke plume emanating from fires in Southern California is illustrative of the interest of Climate and Radiation in studying the emissions of gaseous and particulate pollutants. This image was acquired by the MODIS sensor aboard the EOS Terra satellite on October 26, 2003 and was published on-line as the “Picture of the Week” in February 2004.
  6. An artist’s conception of the landing of the Huygens Probe on Saturn’s moon, Titan. Some of the instruments aboard the Cassini Orbiter and the Huygens Probe were developed by the Atmospheric Experiment Branch. This represents the Laboratory’s interest in advancing knowledge of the atmospheres of other planets.
  7. The above images are superposed on a field of stars and galaxies shown by the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The star field shown here is in the constellation Fornax and contains an estimated 10,000 galaxies. This represents the longer term goal of the Laboratory, of NASA, and of Humanity to explore the universe to the edge of our solar system and beyond.