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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
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THE FUTURE OF
ATMOSPHERIC
CHEMISTRY RESEARCH

Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today,
Anticipating Tomorrow

Committee on the Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Division on Earth and Life Studies

A Report of

Image

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS • 500 Fifth Street, NW • Washington, DC 20001

This study was supported by the National Science Foundation under Award Number AGS-1449200. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-44565-8
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-44565-5
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
×
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The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.

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Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
×
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Reports document the evidence-based consensus of an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and committee deliberations. Reports are peer reviewed and are approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
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COMMITTEE ON THE FUTURE OF ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY RESEARCH

ROBERT A. DUCE (Co-Chair), Texas A&M University, College Station

BARBARA J. FINLAYSON-PITTS (Co-Chair), University of California, Irvine

TAMI BOND, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

WILLIAM H. BRUNE, Pennsylvania State University, University Park

ANNMARIE CARLTON, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick

ALLEN H. GOLDSTEIN, University of California, Berkeley

COLETTE L. HEALD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

SCOTT C. HERNDON, Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, Massachusetts

DYLAN B. A. JONES, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

ATHANASIOS NENES, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

KIMBERLY A. PRATHER, University of California, San Diego

MICHAEL J. PRATHER, University of California, Irvine

ALLISON STEINER, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

CHRISTINE WIEDINMYER, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

LEI ZHU, New York State Department of Health, Albany

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Staff

EDWARD DUNLEA, Senior Program Officer

KATHERINE THOMAS, Senior Program Officer

HEATHER COLEMAN, Postdoctoral Fellow

KRISTINA PISTONE, Postdoctoral Fellow

SHELLY FREELAND, Administrative and Financial Assistant

MICHAEL HUDSON, Senior Program Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
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BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE

A.R. RAVISHANKARA (Chair), Colorado State University, Fort Collins

GERALD A. MEEHL (Vice Chair), National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

LANCE F. BOSART, University at Albany, State University of New York

MARK A. CANE, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York

SHUYI S. CHEN, University of Miami, Florida

HEIDI CULLEN, Climate Central, Princeton, New Jersey

PAMELA EMCH, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, California

ARLENE FIORE, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York

WILLIAM B. GAIL, Global Weather Corporation, Boulder, Colorado

LISA GODDARD, International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Columbia University, Palisades, New York

MAURA HAGAN, Utah State University, Logan

TERRI S. HOGUE, Colorado School of Mines, Golden

ANTHONY JANETOS, Boston University, Massachusetts

EVERETTE JOSEPH, University at Albany, State University of New York

RONALD “NICK” KEENER, JR., Duke Energy Corporation, Charlotte, North Carolina

JOHN R. NORDGREN, The Climate Resilience Fund, Bainbridge Island, Washington

JONATHAN OVERPECK, University of Arizona, Tucson

ARISTIDES A. N. PATRINOS, New York University, Brooklyn

S. T. RAO, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

DAVID A. ROBINSON, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway

CLAUDIA TEBALDI, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Climate Central, Boulder, Colorado

Ocean Studies Board Liaison

DAVID HALPERN, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Polar Research Board Liaison

JENNIFER FRANCIS, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Marion, Massachusetts

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
×

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Staff

AMANDA STAUDT, Director

EDWARD DUNLEA, Senior Program Officer

LAURIE GELLER, Program Director

KATHERINE THOMAS, Senior Program Officer

LAUREN EVERETT, Program Officer

ALISON MACALADY, Associate Program Officer

AMANDA PURCELL, Associate Program Officer

RITA GASKINS, Administrative Coordinator

ROB GREENWAY, Program Associate

SHELLY FREELAND, Financial Associate

MICHAEL HUDSON, Senior Program Assistant

ERIN MARKOVICH, Senior Program Assistant

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
×

Acknowledgments

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

DAVID ALLEN, The University of Texas at Austin

DAVID ASPNES, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

STEVEN BROWN, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colorado

NEIL DONAHUE, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

ILIAS KAVOURAS, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock

SONIA KREIDENWEIS, Colorado State University, Fort Collins

NATALIE MAHOWALD, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

FAYE MCNEILL, Columbia University, New York, New York

MICHAEL MORGAN, University of Wisconsin–Madison

RONALD PRINN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

BRUCE ROSEN, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts

JAMES SCHAUER, University of Wisconsin–Madison

SUSAN TRUMBORE, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany

STEVE WOFSY, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report’s conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before the release. The review of this report was overseen by Robert F. Sawyer, University of California, Berkeley, and Gregory R. Carmichael, University of Iowa, Iowa City. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
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Dedication

We dedicate this report to the memory of Ralph J. Cicerone in great appreciation for his unique and creative contributions to atmospheric chemistry over many decades, and his leadership in both this field and in the advancement of science broadly for the public good.

Committee on the Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
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Preface

The chemistry of the atmosphere envelops us, affecting the health of humans and our environment, including croplands, forests, grasslands, and oceans. It converts emissions by humans and nature into gases and particles that obscure visibility, acidify rain, harm human health, and influence weather and climate. As human society continues to develop and populations grow, requirements for energy, food, and water also expand. This growth in turn drives changing distributions of chemical emissions from a variety of sources, with increases in anthropogenic air pollution in developing countries and decreases in developed countries, as well as alterations in natural sources caused by changing land use. Emissions are not just a local issue, as hemispheric and global transport of these chemicals and their reaction products have led to substantial changes in the global Earth system. Clearly, fundamental understanding of the chemistry of the atmosphere today and the ability to predict how it will change in response to human activities are integral components of developing policy to ensure societal well being.

It has been more than 30 years since the field of atmospheric chemistry has evaluated its research accomplishments and future directions. In 1984, at the request of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the Academies1) developed the report Global Tropospheric Chemistry: A Plan for Action. That report recognized the impact that humans were having on the global atmosphere and called for a comprehensive research program to investigate the chemistry of the lower atmosphere on broad scales. Prior to that report, the emphasis in atmospheric chemistry had been on understanding the polluted troposphere and perturbed stratosphere. The 1984 report represented a paradigm shift—it had become clear that in order to understand human influences on the atmosphere, the scientific community also needed to understand the unperturbed system upon which these influences were imposed. This conclusion led directly to the formation of the NSF Global Tropospheric Chemistry Program, which not only resulted in enhanced support for atmospheric chemistry research, but also has been a major factor in the development of the discipline of atmospheric chemistry over the intervening decades. That report also helped provide a foundation for the formation of the International

___________________

1 In July 2015, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine formally changed its name and is no longer known as the National Research Council.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
×

Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) program, a highly successful and far-reaching international research effort that is still active today.

Since that time, there have been a handful of specialized reports on atmospheric chemistry published by the Academies—Rethinking the Ozone Problem in Urban and Regional Air Pollution (NRC, 1991), A Plan for a Research Program on Aerosol Radiative Forcing and Climate Change (NRC, 1996), Global Air Quality (NRC, 2001), Radiative Forcing of Climate Change (NRC, 2005a), and Global Sources of Local Pollution (NRC, 2010). Atmospheric chemistry was also included in two reports focusing on the future of the atmospheric sciences, including The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty First Century (NRC, 1998) and Strategic Guidance for the National Science Foundation’s Support of the Atmospheric Sciences (NRC, 2007). None of these reports, however, examined the field of atmospheric chemistry as a whole. Recognizing that there have been tremendous changes in our understanding of the chemistry of the atmosphere and our ability to investigate it through field, theory, laboratory, and modeling efforts over the past three decades, NSF once again asked the Academies to develop a report that would address the rationale and need for a comprehensive and broadly based research program in atmospheric chemistry over the next decade and identify priority areas of research and associated infrastructure that would be needed to successfully accomplish this research. The Committee on the Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research was formed in early 2015 to address these issues.

A central part of the Committee’s activities was seeking the thoughts and advice of the U.S. atmospheric chemistry community on future priority areas in atmospheric chemistry research. This input was solicited by the Committee during a series of “town hall” meetings during the spring and summer of 2015 in Boulder, CO; Cambridge, MA; Washington, DC; Irvine, CA; and Atlanta, GA; as well as informally at the Gordon Research Conference on Atmospheric Chemistry in Waterville, NH. More than 250 individuals participated in these town hall meetings and provided valuable insights and suggestions to the Committee. In addition, almost 50 people expressed their thoughts and concerns about future atmospheric chemistry research to the Committee through an online portal. The Committee then considered the hundreds of collected comments that formed the basis for our analysis. During the preparation of this report the Committee held six meetings: in Washington, DC (three times), Irvine, CA (twice), and Atlanta, GA. A number of conference calls and WebEx meetings were also held during this time.

The Committee was also fortunate to have a number of distinguished atmospheric chemists speak formally to us during several of the meetings. These included atmospheric chemists from the international community, including Len Barrie (Sweden),

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
×

Guy Brasseur (Germany), Peter Liss (United Kingdom), and Megan Melamed (United States, IGAC). We also had the benefit of presentations by Michael Kleinman (UC Irvine) and John Seinfeld (Cal Tech). Mel Briscoe presented invaluable information and guidance to the Committee on prioritization processes. Presentations were made by program managers from several federal agencies, and these agencies also provided us with funding data for atmospheric chemistry over roughly the past decade. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Sylvia Edgerton and Peter Milne (NSF); Jack Kaye and Hal Maring (NASA); Sherri Hunt (EPA); Ashley Williamson, Shaima Nasiri, Sally McFarlane, and Dorothy Koch (DOE); and David Fahey, Steve Fine, Elliot Forest, Jason Donaldson, Laura Letson, Kenneth Mooney, and Monica Kopacz (NOAA) in providing us with this information.

It is clear that the field has advanced a great deal since the 1984 report. First, leaps in fundamental understanding of atmospheric processes have not only affected the field of atmospheric chemistry, but have also led to identification of new processes in the foundational fields of chemistry, physics, and meteorology, advancing those fields as well. Second, technological developments for measurements of chemicals in the atmosphere have led to substantially more complete characterization of the full range of atmospheric chemical composition and chemistry. Third, atmospheric chemistry understanding has advanced sufficiently that it is now clear that the field is central to addressing vitally important societal issues such as the health of humans and ecosystems, climate, and weather. Addressing these issues depends on a deep understanding of atmospheric chemistry as the basis for the development of reliable predictive capabilities across local, regional, and global scales. We believe this perspective represents a significant evolution of the field similar to that captured by the 1984 report.

In the words attributed to Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” In this spirit, the report traces some of the history and tremendous successes of the field of atmospheric chemistry and highlights a few of the scientists who contributed with major breakthroughs, hence “Remembering Yesterday.”The report addresses the current state of understanding in various areas of atmospheric chemistry (“Understanding Today”), and finally, important challenges for the future that our community faces (“Anticipating Tomorrow”).

The Committee could not have completed its task without the tremendous support of many people at the Academies. This report began with expert assistance and guidance from Katie Thomas at the beginning stages. Edward Dunlea, senior program officer at the Academies, was a tower of strength, knowledge, patience, and wisdom during the entire process of the development of this report. His ability to nudge us all forward constructively but consistently and his contributions and interactions on an

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
×

almost 24/7 basis were major factors in the report’s successful completion; we could not have asked for a better leader from the Academies. Kristina Pistone and Heather Coleman, both Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellows at the Academies, provided essential behind-the-scenes work tracking down people, references, and myriad other data for our report, in addition to helping significantly during its writing. Deb Glickson and Laurie Geller provided wonderful perspectives, experience and advice as we began our prioritization process. The Academies’ staff Shelly Freeland and Michael Hudson provided invaluable support that greatly facilitated the logistics of our meetings so that the Committee could focus on the tasks at hand. Their cheerful, efficient, and professional assistance set a very high standard indeed.

Finally, we cannot thank enough the members of this Committee, who have made our jobs as co-chairs a pleasure. They have worked diligently since before our first meeting and throughout the process of report development. Every member has made seminal contributions to the report, and they have done it with a deep understanding of atmospheric chemistry, past and present, and what is needed in the future. They have been very patient with us as we tried to find the best paths forward that considered all points of view. Their sense of responsibility as well as humor has made deadlines and difficult choices achievable.

If the membership of this Committee and those in the community who participated in the process are representative of the current field of atmospheric chemistry, and we think they are, our discipline is in very good hands for the future.

Robert A. Duce, Committee Co-Chair
Barbara J. Finlayson-Pitts, Committee Co-Chair

Page xvii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23573.
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Our world is changing at an accelerating rate. The global human population has grown from 6.1 billion to 7.1 billion in the last 15 years and is projected to reach 11.2 billion by the end of the century. The distribution of humans across the globe has also shifted, with more than 50 percent of the global population now living in urban areas, compared to 29 percent in 1950. Along with these trends, increasing energy demands, expanding industrial activities, and intensification of agricultural activities worldwide have in turn led to changes in emissions that have altered the composition of the atmosphere.

These changes have led to major challenges for society, including deleterious impacts on climate, human and ecosystem health. Climate change is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing society today. Air pollution is a major threat to human health, as one out of eight deaths globally is caused by air pollution. And, future food production and global food security are vulnerable to both global change and air pollution. Atmospheric chemistry research is a key part of understanding and responding to these challenges.

The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow summarizes the rationale and need for supporting a comprehensive U.S. research program in atmospheric chemistry; comments on the broad trends in laboratory, field, satellite, and modeling studies of atmospheric chemistry; determines the priority areas of research for advancing the basic science of atmospheric chemistry; and identifies the highest priority needs for improvements in the research infrastructure to address those priority research topics. This report describes the scientific advances over the past decade in six core areas of atmospheric chemistry: emissions, chemical transformation, oxidants, atmospheric dynamics and circulation, aerosol particles and clouds, and biogeochemical cycles and deposition. This material was developed for the NSF’s Atmospheric Chemistry Program; however, the findings will be of interest to other agencies and programs that support atmospheric chemistry research.

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