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+ SG Home > Earth Science Division > Atmospheric Science Branch Staff > Robert Chatfield
Earth Science Directory: Staff
Robert Chatfield

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Robert Chatfield

MS: 245-5

Education: Ph. D., Atmospheric Science, 1982
Colorado State University

Dissertation: Remote tropospheric SO2: Cloud transport of reactive sulfur emissions, with Paul J. Crutzen, Nobel Prize winner, at the Max-Planck -Institut für Chemie
  M.S., Atmospheric Sciences, 1976
University of Washington
  B.A., Math (Chemical Physics), 1969
Rice University

Professional Experience:  
1990-Present NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA
Researcher, Atmospheric Chemist

    Leader of a small research group. Focus: the study of source, chemical, and transport processes where they clearly require improvement in global simulations. A recent Instrument Incubator Program award has propelled us to advocate elegant and innovative techniques for the infrared retrieval and validation of remotely sensed trace species. Basic technique: reconcile detailed, situation-specific studies of emis-sions and observed chemical composition (from aircraft and satellites), and deposition, and so to check the closure of chemical and particulate budgets. We use advanced statistical techniques and the NCAR Finite Volume version of Community Atmospheric Model, and our own flexible, 0-,1-,2-, or 3-dimensional models for synoptic-to-global transport and transformation for idealized or highly experiment-specific analyses. We are collaborating with other centers including Goddard Space Flight Center, University of São Paulo, University of Virginia, University of Maryland, University of North Carolina, Harvard, and others. Strong connections with those studying land use, biomass burning, surface deposition of trace species, and gaseous emissions from soils, plants, and combustion, as they compose the great global biogeochemical cycles.
1984-1990 National Center for Atmospheric Research
PostDoctoral fellow and Research Scientist

    Worked on transport parameterizations, oxidant chemistry, and field observations within Atmospheric Chemistry Division.

Contributions: Publications establish new paths of research. Here are some contributions that have had a significant impact on this field:
  • Promoted robust, elegant short-wave IR measurements using satellite-borne grating mapping spectrometers as a science-focus specialist on NASA Instrument Incubator Program team.
  • Interptreted remote tropospheric O3 sondes values [1977], thus demonstrating transport of Indian Ocean Brown Cloud ozone pollution to the remote Atlantic [2003].
  • Conceived, analyzed and wrote a universally cited paper on a major biogenic emission, isoprene, Zimmerman, et al. [1978].
  • Showed that cumulonimbus clouds had extraordinary effects on the global upper troposphere. The role of (CH3)2S a source of new aerosol there is now a commonplace.
  • Demonstrated the importance of clouds in moving radical reservoirs like the peroxides which determine tropospheric cleaning power (OH radicals and O3 buildup) [1984].
  • Demonstrated and estimated a simple "two-stream" model of planetary boundary layer transport that has become a standard for models that can easily treat atmospheric chemistry and physics [1987].
  • Demonstrated a fundamental limitation in the simulation of the atmospheric chemistry of tropospheric ozone while also providing an origin for high smog ozone over the Equatorial Atlantic [1990]. Presented wavelet analysis pointing to a separate role for lightning [2002].
  • Demonstrated a fundamental anomaly in the reactive nitrogen chemistry of the background troposphere, possibly implying "re-NOx-ification" [1995].
  • Gave a quantitative mechanistic explanation for the "Great African Plume" and the "Subtropical Global Plume" describing the pollution of the Atlantic and global tropics from biomass burning [1988, 2000].
  • Provided provocative evidence that aircraft NO,x plays an environmentally significant role in the troposphere above 6 km, and other sources have limited effects [1999].

Honors, Science Teams,
Scientific Societies::
  • Science Teams:
    • NASA Instrument Incubator Program
      Global Modeling Initiative
      Global Tropospheric Experiment
      EOS Interdisciplinary Science
      Aura Validation Science Teams
  • NASA Professional Development Program at NASA Headquarters, 2000–2001.
  • American Geophysical Union, Annual Invited Lecturer at University of California at Berkeley

(See web page (URL above) for recent presentations and papers in PDF format.)
Chatfield, R., H. Guan, A.M. Thompson, and H. Smit, Mechanisms for the Intraseasonal Variability of Tropospheric Ozone over the Indian Ocean during the Winter Monsoon. Submitted to J. Geophys. Res., 2006JD007347, 2006.
Chatfield, R. B., H. Guan, A. M. Thompson, and J. Witte. 2004. Convective Lofting Links Indian Ocean Air Pollution to Paradoxical South Atlantic Ozone Maxima. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L06103, doi:10.1029/2003GL018866.
Chatfield R. B., Z. Guo, G. W. Sachse, D. R. Blake, and N. J. Blake. 2002. The subtropical global plume in the Pacific Exploratory Mission-Tropics A (PEM-Tropics A), PEM-Tropics B, and the Global Atmospheric Sampling Program (GASP): How tropical emissions affect the remote Pacific. J. Geophys. Res., 107 (D16), doi:10.1029/2001JD000497.
Folkins, I., and R.B. Chatfield. 2000. Impact of acetone on ozone production and OH in the upper troposphere at high NO. J. Geophys. Res., 105,11,585–11,599.
Chatfield, R. B. 2000. "Atmospheric Composition and Structure" and "Atmospheric Motions and the Greenhouse Effect." In Earth System Science: Processes and Issues, G. Ernst, ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chatfield, R. B., J. A. Vastano, L. Li, G. W. Sachse, and V.S. Connors. 1998. The Great African Plume from biomass burning: A three-dimensional study of Trace-A carbon monoxide. J. Geophysical Res., 103, 28,059-28,077.
Chatfield, R. B., J. A. Vastano, H. B. Singh, and G.W. Sachse. 1996. A generalized model of how fire emissions and chemistry produce African / oceanic plumes (O3, CO, PAN, smoke) seen in Trace-A. J. Geophysical Res, 101, 24,279–24,306.
Chatfield, R. B. 1994. Anomalous HNO3/NOx ratio of remote tropospheric air: Conversion of nitric acid to formic acid and NOx? Geophys. Res. Lett., 21, 2705–2708.
Chatfield, R. B., and A. C. Delany. 1990. Convection links biomass burning to increased tropical ozone: However, models will tend to overpredict O3. J. Geophysical Res., 95, 18473–18488.
Chatfield, R. B., and P. J. Crutzen 1990. Are there interactions of iodine and sulfur species in marine air photochemistry? J. Geophysical Res., 95, 22319–22341.
Ferek, R. J., R. B. Chatfield, and M. O. Andreae. 1986. Vertical distribution of dimethylsulfide in the ma-rine atmosphere: implications for the atmospheric sulfur cycle. Nature, 320, 514–516.
Chatfield, R. B. and P. J. Crutzen. 1984. Sulfur dioxide in remote oceanic air: Cloud transport of reactive precursors, J. Geophys. Res., 89, 7111–7132.
Zimmerman, P. R., R. B. Chatfield, J. Fishman, P. J. Crutzen, and P. L. Hanst. 1978. Estimates of the production of CO and H2 from the oxidation of hydrocarbon emissions from vegetation. Geophys. Res. Lett., 5, 679–682.

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