volcanic plume

Photo: USGSResearch Highlight Climate Change: Recent trends in stratospheric aerosol explained by volcanic sources rather than anthropogenic emissions.

Chemistry & Climate Processes

Dr. Karen H. Rosenlof, Program Lead
Madeline Sturgill, Secretary (303) 497-7990

NOAA ESRL Chemical Sciences Division
325 Broadway R/CSD8
Boulder, CO 80305 USA


The primary focus of our research group is to provide integrated analysis and modeling that addresses chemistry/climate processes spanning the troposphere and stratosphere. We use these capabilities to provide science and science leadership that improves understanding and directly assists public policy.

Illustrative Near-Term Goals

  • Advancing the building blocks that underlie science and policy: improved understanding of climatic extremes; identification of changes in circulation, chemical transport, and links to climate; improved evaluation of climate change metrics such as Global Warming Potential (GWPs); more complete projections of future global hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions.
  • Leadership in the science community and at the science/policy interface: provisioning of improved and more comprehensive estimates of emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosol precursors used in modeling (including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change modeling exercises for the 2013 assessment); leadership of international water vapor scientific assessment; leadership in comparison of stratospheric ozone climatologies used in modeling; developing of an improved stratospheric aerosol climatology.


The group collaborates widely, as indicated in our publication lists. Key collaborations include those with other research groups in CSD and GMD, other NOAA units including NCDC and GFDL, and with NCAR, industry, EPA, NASA, NSF, academic and government institutions in the U. S. and overseas, and international research organizations (IGBP, WCRP).

Select Publications

Decreases in stratospheric water vapor after the year 2000 slowed the rate of increase in global surface temperature.

Susan Solomon 1, Karen H. Rosenlof 1, Robert W. Portmann 1, John S. Daniel 1, Sean M. Davis 1,2, Todd J. Sanford 1,2, and Gian-Kasper Plattner 3, Contributions of Stratospheric Water Vapor to Decadal Changes in the Rate of Global Warming, Science, 327(5970): 1219-1223, 5 March 2010; published online 28 January 2010 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1182488] (in Research Articles).

1 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory, Chemical Sciences Division, Boulder, CO, USA.
2 Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA.
3 Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.