The University of Colorado at Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., recently announced the formation of a new collaborative research center dedicated to the study of the sun's effect on Earth's climate.
The Sun-Climate Research Center (SCRC) will be co-directed by LASP research scientist Peter Pilewskie as well as Robert Cahalan, who heads Goddard's Climate and Radiation Branch, and Douglas Rabin, head of Goddard's Solar Physics Laboratory.
"The exciting thing about this collaboration is that we believe it will promote studies to help answer key questions about the climate system, including how Earth's atmosphere responds to the sun's variability and how that affects climate," said Pilewskie, a faculty member in CU-Boulder's atmospheric and oceanic sciences department. "This question is particularly important now as we seek to quantify the human-induced impact on Earth's climate."
Made possible by a Federal Space Act Agreement, SCRC will foster collaboration between Earth-atmosphere and solar sciences at the two institutions. Opportunities will include a scientist exchange program between the organizations and the ability for postdoctoral scientists and graduate students in science, engineering and mission operations to move between LASP and Goddard. The partnership also will include international research symposia on sun-climate interactions.
"In recent years Goddard and LASP have worked together on several Earth and sun missions," Cahalan said. "Now we look forward to continuing to drive growth in this key interdisciplinary field of sun-Earth research, bringing new focus to the study of multiyear changes in the sun and its influence on Earth's climate."
According to the center's co-directors, the SCRC represents a rare and innovative step that underscores LASP's ability to take its high-caliber research and program opportunities to a new level with Goddard.
"LASP has developed some remarkable areas of expertise that are key to studying the sun and its effect on climate and on human activities," said LASP Director Daniel Baker. "By working with our colleagues at Goddard, we can leverage our skills and help take an important step toward greater cooperation between NASA centers and leading university research teams."