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John Nowak (NASA)

Title: Research Physical Scientist
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)

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SD Profiles Contact
  • CAPABLE/CRAVE Full Site Photo from left to right site enclosures: 1196A NASA LaRC, MPLnet, Virginia DEQ
    CAPABLE/CRAVE Full Site Photo from left to right site enclosures: 1196A NASA LaRC, MPLnet, Virginia DEQ

  • NASA LaRC NAST-I and HU ASSIST side-by-side for intercomparison
    NASA LaRC NAST-I and HU ASSIST side-by-side for intercomparison

  • Virginia DEQ, NASA and Penn State-NATIVE Enclosures (from right to left)
    Virginia DEQ, NASA and Penn State-NATIVE Enclosures (from right to left)

  • Ozone-sonde away.
    Ozone-sonde away.
  • About to lift.
    About to lift.
PurpleAir PA-II-SD Air Quality Sensor
Laser Particle Counters
Type (2) PMS5003
Range of measurement 0.3, 0.5, 1.0, 2.5, 5.0, & 10 μm
Counting efficiency 50% at 0.3μm & 98% at ≥0.5μm
Effective range
(PM2.5 standard)*
0 to 500 μg/m³
Maximum range (PM2.5 standard)* ≥1000 μg/m³
Maximum consistency error (PM2.5 standard) ±10% at 100 to 500μg/m³ & ±10μg/m³ at 0 to 100μg/m³
Standard Volume 0.1 Litre
Single response time ≤1 second
Total response time ≤10 seconds
Pressure, Temperature, & Humidity Sensor
Type BME280
Temperature range -40°F to 185°F (-40°C to 85°C)
Pressure range 300 to 1100 hPa
Humidity Response time (τ63%): 1 s
Accuracy tolerance: ±3% RH
Hysteresis: ≤2% RH

Pandora capabilities










Total Column O3, NO2, HCHO, SO2, H2O, BrO

0.01 DU

0.1 DU



Virginia Department of Environment Quality in-situ instrumentation






Thermo Scientific 42C (Molybdenum converter)

60 s

NO and NOx

50 pptv


Teledyne API 200EU w/ photolytic converter
(EPA) PI-Szykman

20 s


50 pptv


Thermo Scientific 49C (VADEQ)

20 s


1 ppbv


Thermo Scientific 48i (VADEQ)

60 s


40 ppbv


Thermo Scientific 43i (VADEQ)

80 s


0.2 ppbv


Thermo Scientific 1400AB TEOM (VADEQ)

600 s

PM2.5 (continuous)


1 3%

Thermo Scientific Partisol Plus 2025 (VADEQ)

24 hr

PM2.5 (filter-based FRM)- 1/3 days



Large area view.
Latitude: 37.1038
Longitude: -76.3872
Elevation: 3 m Above sea level
Scenes: urban, marsh, bay, river and farm.


  • The inner red circle is a 20km CERES foot print centered on the BSRN-LRC site.
  • The pink circle represents a possible tangential 20km foot print.
  • The middle red circle represents the area in which a 20km foot print could fall and still see the site.
  • Yellow is a sample 40 deg off nadir foot print.
  • The outer red circle is the region which would be seen by a possible 40 deg off nadir foot print.
The BSRN-LRC sun tracker at the NASA Langley Research Center on a snowy day (02/20/2015) The BSRN-LRC sun tracker at the NASA Langley Research Center on a snowy day (02/20/2015)
CAPABLE-BSRN Google Site Location Image

Team Satellite Sensor G/L Dates Number of obs Phase angle range (°)
CMA FY-3C MERSI LEO 2013-2014 9 [43 57]
CMA FY-2D VISSR GEO 2007-2014
CMA FY-2E VISSR GEO 2010-2014
CMA FY-2F VISSR GEO 2012-2014
JMA MTSAT-2 IMAGER GEO 2010-2013 62 [-138,147]
JMA GMS5 VISSR GEO 1995-2003 50 [-94,96]
JMA Himawari-8 AHI GEO 2014- -
EUMETSAT MSG1 SEVIRI GEO 2003-2014 380/43 [-150,152]
EUMETSAT MSG2 SEVIRI GEO 2006-2014 312/54 [-147,150]
EUMETSAT MSG3 SEVIRI GEO 2013-2014 45/7 [-144,143]
EUMETSAT MET7 MVIRI GEO 1998-2014 128 [-147,144]
CNES Pleiades-1A PHR LEO 2012 10 [+/-40]
CNES Pleiades-1B PHR LEO 2013-2014 10 [+/-40]
NASA-MODIS Terra MODIS LEO 2000-2014 136 [54,56]
NASA-MODIS Aqua MODIS LEO 2002-2014 117 [-54,-56]
NASA-VIIRS NPP VIIRS LEO 2012-2014 20 [50,52]
NASA-OBPG SeaStar SeaWiFS LEO 1997-2010 204 (<10, [27-66])
NASA/USGS Landsat-8 OLI LEO 2013-2014 3 [-7]
NOAA-STAR NPP VIIRS LEO 2011-2014 19 [-52,-50]
NOAA GOES-10 IMAGER GEO 1998-2006 33 [-66, 81]
NOAA GOES-11 IMAGER GEO 2006-2007 10 [-62, 57]
NOAA GOES-12 IMAGER GEO 2003-2010 49 [-83, 66]
NOAA GOES-15 IMAGER GEO 2012-2013 28 [-52, 69]
VITO Proba-V VGT-P LEO 2013-2014 25 [-7]
KMA COMS MI GEO 2010-2014 60
AIST Terra ASTER LEO 1999-2014 1 -27.7
ISRO OceanSat2 OCM-2 LEO 2009-2014 2

The NASA Prediction Of Worldwide Energy Resources (POWER) Project improves the accessibility and usage NASA Earth Observations (EO) supporting community research in three focus areas: 1) renewable energy development, 2) building energy efficiency, and 3) agroclimatology applications. The latest POWER version enhances its distribution systems to provide the latest NASA EO source data, be more resilient, support users more effectively, and provide data more efficiently. The update will include hourly-based source Analysis Ready Data (ARD), in addition to enhanced daily, monthly, annual, and climatology ARD. The daily time-series now spans 40 years for meteorology available from 1981 and solar-based parameters start in 1984. The hourly source data are from Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) and Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO), spanning 20 years from 2001.

The newly available hourly data will provide users the ARD needed to model the energy performance of building systems, providing information directly amenable to decision support tools introducing the industry standard EPW (EnergyPlus Weather file). One of POWER’s partners, Natural Resource Canada’s RETScreen™, will be simultaneously releasing a new version of its software, which will have integrated POWER hourly and daily ARD products. For our agroclimatology users, the ICASA (International Consortium for Agricultural Systems Applications standards) format for the crop modelers has been modernized.

POWER is releasing new user-defined analytic capabilities, including custom climatologies and climatological-based reports for parameter anomalies, ASHRAE® compatible climate design condition statistics, and building climate zones. The ARD and climate analytics will be readily accessible through POWER's integrated services suite, including the Data Access Viewer (DAV). The DAV has been improved to incorporate updated parameter groupings, new analytical capabilities, and the new data formats. Updated methodology documentation and usage tutorials, as well as application developer specific pages, allow users to access to POWER Data efficiently.

+Visit the POWER Program Site to Learn More.