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ATMOS on the International Space Station

Proposed Deployment of the Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy Experiment on the International Space Station

Scientific Objectives - ATMOS on ISS 11/20/95 - Executive Summary

The ATMOS Fourier Transform Spectrometer is an extant instrument which acquires high-resolution, broadband solar occultation spectra from space. ATMOS uses infrared transmission to profile over 30 atmospheric constituents including O3, N2O, CH4, H2O, the entire NOy family, and much of the chlorine and fluorine families, including HCl, HF, and ClONO2. ATMOS has operated successfully in four Space Shuttle missions and in an extensive series of ground-based measurements. Deployment on the International Space Station (ISS) will increase by orders of magnitude the number of observation opportunities, providing greater latitudinal, seasonal, and temporal coverage than achieved previously, and will extend the ATMOS database from 1985 into the next two decades.

Key science objectives of an ATMOS deployment on ISS are:

  • Transport studies; capitalizing on the ability to make highly precise measurements of key tracers of atmospheric transport through different seasons and over several years.

  • Stratospheric chemistry; providing measurements of gases important for the photochemical regulation of O3 over a wide range of conditions, taking full advantage of co-located measurements of aerosols by SAGE III.

  • Tropospheric chemistry; using high quality tropospheric spectra to measure concentrations of H2O, O3, CO, HNO3, and other species important for regulating OH.

  • Polar processes; providing observations of ozone, nitrogen oxides, water, inorganic chlorine, and long-lived gases during periods of vortex breakup.

  • Radiation and climate; recording changes in solar infrared transmission, as a result of changes in aerosols and tropospheric water vapor, which directly impact climate.

  • Long-term monitoring; building on the ATMOS data record to measure growth rates of greenhouse gases and precursors of O3 depleting catalysts.

  • New species detection; fingerprinting the state of the atmosphere with high quality infrared spectra to preserve a record of gases which are growing in importance.

  • Correlative measurements; providing a reference standard for comparison with the suite of measurements from EOS Chem-1, bridging the gap between UARS and EOS.

ATMOS's previous accomplishments demonstrate these science objectives are realistic. A deployment on International Space Station will contribute much to the goals of the Mission to Planet Earth Program.

This white paper is available for downloading in PDF form.

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