GREENBELT, Md. – NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and The University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) announced the formation of a new collaborative research center dedicated to the study of the Sun's effect on Earth's climate. The center, called the Sun-Climate Research Center (SCRC), will be directed by Robert Cahalan, Head of Goddard's Climate and Radiation Branch, Douglas Rabin, Head of Goddard's Solar Physics Laboratory, and Peter Pilewskie, a LASP research scientist and CU professor.
"In recent years Goddard and LASP have worked together on several Earth and Sun missions, " said Cahalan. "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 their influence on Earth's climate."
Pilewskie said, "The exciting thing about this collaboration is that we believe it will promote studies to help answer a key question about the climate system: how does Earth's atmosphere respond to the sun's variability, and how does that affect climate? This question is particularly important now, as we seek to quantify the human-induced impact on Earth's climate."
The SCRC, which has been made possible by a NASA Space Act Agreement, will foster collaboration between Earth-atmosphere and solar sciences at the two institutions. Opportunities will include a scientist exchange program between the organizations, the ability for post-doctoral scientists and graduate students in science, engineering, and mission operations to move between LASP and Goddard, annual international Sun-Climate research symposia, and the ability for the two institutions to collaborate more fluidly on future research opportunities.
Dr. Nicholas White, Director of the Sciences and Exploration Directorate at NASA Goddard said, "I am very excited that we have been able to craft this agreement that brings together the best scientists at NASA and LASP to study how the Earth responds to changes in the solar energy output. The sum of the two will exceed what the individual entities could achieve on their own."
Daniel Baker, LASP Director, said, "LASP has developed some remarkable areas of expertise that are key to studying the sun and its effect on climate and on human activities. 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."