David Fahey

David Fahey photo

Research Physicist
Director of the ESRL Chemical Sciences Division

Office of the Director

Mailing address:
NOAA ESRL Chemical Sciences Division
325 Broadway, R/CSD
Boulder, CO 80305 USA

Phone: (303) 497-5277
Email: David.W.Fahey@noaa.gov

Dr. Fahey is a research physicist in NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, USA. He joined the Laboratory in 1979 after receiving advanced degrees in physics from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Missouri. His principal research interest is the measurements of trace gases and aerosols in the troposphere and lower stratosphere using instruments on board research aircraft. His interpretative studies have addressed stratospheric ozone depletion, the photochemistry of nitrogen oxides, the formation of nitric acid containing aerosols, and the roles of black carbon, biological aerosol, and water vapor in climate.

Dr. Fahey has served as a Principal Investigator and Project Scientist for a number of airborne sampling missions with NASA's research manned and unmanned aircraft and as a participant in several international scientific assessments of ozone depletion and climate. He is an author of the 2007 climate science assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He has received the U. S. Department of Commerce Silver and Bronze Medals for Meritorious Federal Service, the American Meteorological Society Henry G. Houghton Award, and is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Before being appointed as CSD Director, Dr. Fahey was a Senior Technical (ST) scientist in NOAA, a position recognizing his many scientific accomplishments, his leadership in research and assessment activities, and his skills in communicating science to the atmospheric science community, stakeholders, decision-makers, and the public.


PhD - University of Missouri-Rolla
BA - University of Wisconsin-Madison

Current Topics

  • Scientific analysis and assessment of issues related the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
  • Scientific analysis and assessment of the impact of aviation on future climate understanding.
  • Airborne measurements of black carbon aerosol in the troposphere and lower stratosphere using the NOAA Single Particle Soot Photometer (SP2).
  • Water vapor measurements in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere.
  • Design and construction of the next generation detectors for atmospheric composition for use on manned and unmanned airborne platforms.
  • Use of NASA's Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) for earth science research.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

last modified: September 21, 2015