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PRESS RELEASE: Collaborative LASP/Goddard Sun-Climate Research Center Announced

November 29, 2010
Solar Image

The newly announced Sun-Climate Research Center, a collaboration between LASP and Goddard, will focus on research areas such as how solar variations shape Earth’s atmosphere and climate. This image of the sun is from the LASP-built NSF Precision Solar Photometric Telescope (PSPT). (Courtesy NASA/GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio; source data courtesy of HAO and LASP PSPT project team)

The University of Colorado Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center 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 Peter Pilewskie, a LASP research scientist and CU professor, Robert Cahalan, Head of Goddard’s Climate and Radiation Branch, and Douglas Rabin, Head of Goddard’s Solar Physics Laboratory.

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 Federal 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.

Robert Cahalan, SCRC co-director and Goddard scientist, said, “In recent years Goddard and LASP have worked together on several Earth and Sun missions. 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.”

With a limited number of such agreements between U.S. universities and any of NASA’s ten field centers, the SCRC represents a rare and innovative step, underscoring LASP’s ability to develop high-caliber research and programmatic opportunities with Goddard.

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.”

Contacts:

LASP:
Peter Pilewskie, SCRC Director: 303-492-5724 or
Peter.Pilewskie@lasp.colorado.edu

Dan Baker, LASP Director: 303-492-4509 or
Daniel.Baker@lasp.colorado.edu

Stephanie Renfrow, press office: 303-735-5814 or
Stephanie.Renfrow@lasp.colorado.edu

Goddard Space Flight Center:
Robert Cahalan, SCRC Co-Director: 301-614-5390 or
Robert.F.Cahalan@nasa.gov