Middle & Upper Atmosphere

The middle and upper atmospheric physics group studies a wide range of phenomena related to the dynamics, chemistry, and radiative processes in the stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere — basically everything above about 10 km altitude. Much of our research involves interpretation of remote sensing data from Earth observing satellites. We study processes related to chemical ozone destruction and the polar ozone hole, water vapor in the tropical upper troposphere and lower stratosphere, and extratropical stratosphere/troposphere exchange. Higher up, our research involves the study of trace gas transport and photochemistry in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere, including stratopause dynamics, and to the composition and ultraviolet remote sensing of the thermosphere.

Faculty with Active Research Programs:

Ken Minschwaner, Professor of Physics
Gloria Manney, Adjunct faculty in Physics

Check Out:


Distribution of carbon monoxide (C) between 40 and 70 km altitude observed by the Microwave Limb Sounder on the NASA Aura satellite. Maps are over the north pole and capture variations in CO during a major stratospheric warming in 2006. From Manney et al., 2009.