Science Systems and Applications, Inc. - Science and Technology with Passion

atmospheric ozone measurements

The image represents ozone measurements taken by Suomi-NPP OMPSThe image represents ozone measurements taken by Suomi-NPP OMPS
when the 2014 ozone hole (shown in the blue and purple colors)
was near its maximum size and depth.

Since a 1975 congressional mandate directed NASA to “conduct a comprehensive program of research, technology and monitoring of the phenomena of the upper atmosphere,” scientists at both NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and Langley Research Center (LaRC) have been measuring and monitoring atmospheric ozone from spaceborne satellite instruments. Their efforts produced the first images of the southern hemisphere ozone hole. These images, and results from NASA satellite instruments showing the long-term decrease in global ozone levels, helped to promote the ratification of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty to limit, and eventually eliminate, the release into the atmosphere of man-made ozone-destroying chemicals.

SSAI researchers are an integral part of both the GSFC and LaRC efforts. These scientists, many of whom have worked side by side for decades with their NASA colleagues on ozone research, calibrate measurements from the satellite instruments and monitor their performance, develop algorithms to convert these measurements into total ozone and ozone profile amounts, and create consistent long-term data sets by combining measurements from successive generations of instruments.

SSAI is currently working with NASA to use data from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument onboard the Aura satellite and the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) on the Suomi-NPP satellite to look for signs of recovery in the ozone layer. Our staff is participating in the development of the next set of OMPS instruments scheduled for launch later this decade, as well as the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III that will be delivered to the International Space Station in 2016.