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GRANTEE:NCAS, Howard University Scientists

Published February 2013

NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS) is one of four NOAA Educational Partnership Program (EPP) with Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), Cooperative Science Centers (CSCs). EPP CSCs are educating students and participating in collaborative research funded through a cooperative agreement.

Most recently, NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS) at Howard University, completed a campaign in the Aerosols and Ocean Science Expeditions (AEROSE) science teams, along with the Pilot Research Moored Array in the Tropical Atlantic (PIRATA) oceanographic scientific team, aboard the NOAA vessel Ronald H. Brown. On arrival in San Juan, Puerto Rico, marking the end of the AEROSEVII campaign, scientists co-sponsored an open house aboard the Ronald H. Brown.

NOAA ship and team
Scientists Mayra Oyola (left) and Ebony Roper (right) enjoying the bad weather. Photo courtesy:

The AEROSEVIII campaign focused on two primary objectives, studying the physical, chemical and marine meteorology characteristics of biomass and other aerosols, particularly those emerging from the African coast during the peak of their biomass burning season, and providing validation for the newest NOAA/NASA Earth-observing research satellite, Suomi NPP.

Led by Dr. Vernon Morris, Director of the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS) at Howard University,and AEROSE Principal Investigator, the mission was divided into three main components: Aerosol and Trace Gas (ATG) operations, by Dr. Morris (Howard University), Dr. Ebony Roper (Howard), Mr. Chris Spells (Hampton) and Ms. Elsa Castillo (UTEP); Atmospheric Physics and Radiation (APR) operations, by Dr. Everette Joseph (Deputy Director of NCAS and Director of the Beltsville Center for Climate System Observation), and Ms. Mayra Oyola (Howard); Satellite Validation operations, by Dr. Nick Nalli (NOAA/NESDIS), Dr. Everette Joseph, Deputy Director of the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS) at Howard University and Ms. Mayra Oyola, NCAS Graduate student. PIRATA operations were headed by NOAA scientist Dr. Claudia Schmid.

A key aspect of the mission was investigating the connection between African winds, the Saharan dust particles they carry (aerosols), and the weather patterns across the tropical Atlantic. It is estimated that between 60 and 200 millions of tons of Saharan dust can be aerosolized, and transported worldwide, per year. These quantities of Saharan dust can be found in the tropical Atlantic along the same path where hurricanes and tropical storms form. The data collected on the cruise, and studying how aerosolized particles affect weather in the U.S. and Caribbean, could potentially improve hurricane forecasting. You can visit the team at aerosecampaigns and on facebook, to see their photos, read their log entries, and learn more about NOAA sciences.

NOAA's Office of Education (OED) Educational Partnership Programs (EPP) with Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) provides financial assistance through open competition to support students and build capacity in NOAA mission critical sciences to train the next generation of scientists and managers to carry NOAA and our nation into the future. The Educational Partnership Program (EPP) established Cooperative Science Centers (CSCs) at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). These Centers are each comprised of a consortium of academic institutions with the principal goal of providing formal education to students in coursework directly related to NOAA's mission. Each Center strengthens and builds sustainable capacity in education and research in NOAA's mission scientific and technology areas. For more information about the outcomes of Educational Partnership Program, visit:

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