The Sverdrup Visiting Scientist Lecture

Anne Douglass, PhD


Monday, April 13, 2015
7 p.m., Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center

Satellite Observations – The Touchstone of Atmospheric Modeling

Scientists use controlled experiments as their principle tool of investigation. Earth scientists must take a different approach, as there are no opportunities for global-scale controlled experiments. The common approach resembles a three-legged stool: observations, models, and laboratory experiments. Each play a vital role. Observations of atmospheric composition are made from ground-based, balloon-borne aircraft and satellite instruments. There are special challenges to conceiving, building, and launching instruments that observe the earth from space. The multi-year, global datasets produced by NASA satellites over the past few decades have built a foundation for understanding the complex interactions of composition, circulation, and climate and for testing the modern computer models that are developed to predict atmospheric evolution for the coming decades and beyond. Together, increased understanding and critical testing using global datasets are the cornerstones of more certain prediction.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015
11 a.m., Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center

Finding My Way through the Ozone Layer

“My 30-plus year career in the atmospheric chemistry and dynamics laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center began in 1981 following a lengthy graduate school career that featured two universities, experimental work, development of a primitive atmospheric model, and a growing family. On arrival, I began to learn about atmospheric chemistry, especially that related to stratospheric ozone and the connections between chemistry and climate. The maze I call my scientific career is filled with unexpected twists and turns and even a few blind alleys, but most of the time satellite measurements of ozone and other trace gases helped me keep my bearings. Although complexity of Earth system modeling, computational requirements, and computational capabilities have all increased during my career, the ‘back-to-the-data’ approach has prevailed and is likely to continue to do so for decades to come.”


Anne R. Douglass is a senior scientist with the Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. She has worked with NASA since 1981, and is presently a project scientist for Aura, the Earth Observing System atmospheric chemistry satellite that was launched in 2004. She previously served as deputy project scientist for Aura (1998-2008), and deputy project scientist for the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (1993-2005).

Her research uses atmospheric constituent observations along with models to understand and predict the evolution of stratospheric ozone and other species that are important to ozone and climate. She is co-lead for the Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry Climate Model (GEOSCCM). GEOSCCM combines a general circulation model with a representation of stratospheric and tropospheric photochemical processes. Early in her career, insufficient data and computational resources limited the completeness and complexity of models. Use of observations to inform and test simulations from these simple models developed the foundation of modern models, including GEOSCCM.

Douglass is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (1998) and the American Geophysical Union (2007). She received a NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal in 2009 and a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2012.

She spent many years studying physics, obtaining a BA from Trinity University in Washington, D.C. (1971) and a master of science from the University of Minnesota (1975). She began her career in atmospheric science and the use of satellite observations at Iowa State University where she completed her PhD in physics (1980).


Sponsored by the General Leif J. Sverdrup Visiting Scientist Program at Augsburg College. Co-sponsored by the Minnesota Space Grant Consortium.