Pre-Meeting Workshop

Tuesday, August 22 | 8:30 a.m.

Observing Climate Change from Earth's Surface to the Edge of Space

Dr. Martin G. Mlynczak
Science Directorate, Climate Science Branch, NASA Langley Research Center

In this workshop we will review and discuss the role of increasing carbon dioxide and the changes that it is causing throughout the entirety of Earth’s atmosphere. The impacts of increasing CO2 include the well-known warming of the troposphere to the perhaps lesser-known cooling of the thermosphere, the latter of which has significant implications for operation of space assets and avoidance of space debris.

The major scientific challenge is to be able to predict, decades in to the future, the state of the climate from Earth’s surface to the edge of space, so that society may soon make informed decisions on reduction of greenhouse gases, mitigation and adaptation strategies for climate change, and even decisions on satellite lifetimes and orbital debris removal.

In Part 1 of this Workshop we will discuss the physics of radiative transfer associated with CO2 and how it plays such a critical role throughout the entire sensible atmosphere.

In Part 2, we will discuss observing climate change in the troposphere, including new missions (such as CLARREO, TRUTHS, and REFIR) that will both open new windows of the spectrum (e.g., the longwave far-IR), and through enhanced accuracy, provide critical information on climate change perhaps decades before current space-based observing systems.

In Part 3 we will discuss climate change in Earth’s upper atmosphere, the stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere, including the “global cooling” of the atmosphere due to increasing CO2. A major impact will be the reduction of density at fixed altitude, leading to longer orbital lifetime for both satellites and space debris, and to increased probability of collisions.

Dr. Mlynczak is a Senior Research Scientist in the Climate Science Branch at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA.

For the past 30 years he has studied the climate and energy balance of the Earth’s whole atmosphere. He has been a team member or investigator on nearly every major satellite project addressing climate including the NASA Earth Science CERES and AIRS instruments, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), and the international Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget (GERB) instrument, and the future CLARREO mission.

He is currently the Associate Principal Investigator of the SABER instrument on the NASA TIMED mission exploring the mesosphere and thermosphere.

He has also led multiple technology development projects for climate sensing including the FIRST, INFLAME, CORSAIR, FORGE, FIREBIB, and FIDTAP projects.

He is also an Affiliate Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Dr. Mlynczak has received the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement (2003), and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal (2009). In 2012, he was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the highest honor NASA bestows, for his work in the atmospheric and climate sciences.