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John Nowak (NASA)

Title: Chemistry & Dynamics Branch Head
Technical Focus Area: Chemistry & Dynamics, Air Quality & Weather, Airborne Science
Study Topics: Atmospheric Chemistry, Air Quality, Tropospheric Chemistry, Greenhouse Gases, Climate, Spectroscopy
Missions/Projects: DACOM/DLH


Dr. Nowak is interested in the measurement of atmospheric trace gases for understanding chemical transformations and transport in the atmosphere, and the impact of these processes on climate, air quality, health, and ecosystems. His current work focuses on airborne measurements of water vapor, carbon monoxide, methane, and carbon dioxide using different spectroscopic techniques to study air quality and climate. Dr. Nowak’s previous work includes: the development, characterization, and deployment of Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometry (CIMS) instrumentation for airborne measurements of tropospheric trace gases, e.g., ammonia and nitric acid; using various Chemical Ionization techniques with time-of-flight mass spectrometry to measure highly oxidized gas phase precursors for organic aerosol and aerosol composition; and measuring greenhouse gases, methane and nitrous oxide, and aerosol precursors, ammonia and nitric acid, via direct absorption spectroscopy.

Publication Bibliography:


  • H. S. Halliday, J. P. DiGangi, Y. Choi, G. S. Diskin, S. E. Pusede, M. Rana, J. B. Nowak, C. Knote, X. Ren, H. He, R. R. Dickerson, and Z. Li, Using Short-Term CO/CO2 Ratios to Assess Air Mass Differences over the Korean Peninsula during KORUS-AQ, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 124., 2019.
  • Kelly, J. T., Parworth, C. L., Zhang, Q., Miller, D. J., Sun, K., Zondlo, M. A., Baker, K.R., Wisthaler, A., Nowak, J. B., Pusede, S. E., Cohen, R. C., Weinheimer, A. J., Beyersdorf, A. J., Tonnesen, G. S., Bash, J. O., Valin, L. C., Crawford, J. H., Fried, A., Walega, J. G., Modeling NH4NO3 over the San Joaquin Valley during the 2013 DISCOVER‐AQ campaign. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 123., 2018.
  • Pusede, S. E., Duffey, K. C., Shusterman, A. A., Saleh, A., Laughner, J. L., Wooldridge, P. J., Zhang, Q., Parworth, C. L., Kim, H., Capps, S. L., Valin, L. C., Cappa, C. D., Fried, A., Walega, J., Nowak, J. B., Weinheimer, A. J., Hoff, R. M., Berkoff, T. A., Beyersdorf, A. J., Olson, J., Crawford, J. H., and Cohen, R. C.: On the effectiveness of nitrogen oxide reductions as a control over ammonium nitrate aerosol, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 2575-2596, doi:10.5194/acp-16-2575-2016, 2016.
  • Schiferl, L. D., C. L. Heald, J. B. Nowak, J. S. Holloway, J. A. Neuman, R. Bahreini, I. B. Pollack, T. B. Ryerson, C. Wiedinmyer, and J. G. Murphy, An investigation of ammonia and inorganic particulate matter in California during the CalNex campaign, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 119, 1883–1902, doi:10.1002/2013JD020765, 2014.
  • Kelly, J. T., K.R. Baker, J.B. Nowak, J.G. Murphy, M.Z. Markovic, T.C. VanderBoer, R.A. Ellis, J.A. Neuman, R.J. Weber, J.M. Roberts, P.R. Veres, J.A. deGouw, M.R. Beaver, S. Newman, C. Misenis, Fine-scale simulation of ammonium and nitrate over the South Coast Air Basin and San Joaquin Valley of California during CalNex-2010, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 119, 3600–3614, doi:10.1002/2013JD021290, 2014.
  • Nowak, J.B., J.A. Neuman, R. Bahreini, A.M. Middlebrook, J.S. Holloway, S. A. McKeen, D.D. Parrish, T.B. Ryerson, and M. Trainer, Ammonia sources in the California South Coast Air Basin and their impact on ammonium nitrate formation, Geophy. Res. Lett., 39, L07804, doi:10.1029/2012GL051197, 2012
  • Nowak, J.B., J. A. Neuman, K. Kozai, L. G. Huey, D. J. Tanner, J. S. Holloway, T. B. Ryerson, G. J. Frost, S. A. McKeen, and F.C. Fehsenfeld, A Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometry Technique for Airborne Measurements of Ammonia, J. Geophys. Res., 112, D10S02, doi:10.1029/2006JD007589, 2007.
  • Nowak, J.B., D.D. Davis, G. Chen, F.L. Eisele, R.L. Mauldin III, D.J. Tanner, C. Cantrell, E. Kosciuch, A. Bandy, D. Thornton, and A. Clarke, Airborne Observations of DMSO, DMS, and OH at Marine Tropical Latitudes, Geophy. Res. Lett., Vol. 28, No. 11, 2201-2204, 2001.

Education/Professional Experience:

  • Research Physical Scientist, NASA Langley Research Center
  • Senior Scientist, Aerodyne Research, Inc.
  • Research Scientist, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES), University of Colorado
  • Ph.D., Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • B.A., Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago

Professional Memberships:

  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS)