Press Release

Media Invited to Learn About NASA Mission to Study Intense Storms

By SpaceRef Editor
July 21, 2021
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NASA is inviting media to learn more about an upcoming airborne science campaign to study intense summer thunderstorms over the central United States, which will aid scientists in their understanding of how such storms affect Earth’s atmosphere and climate change. The event will be held via WebEx at 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday, July 27.

Employing NASA’s ER-2 aircraft, based at the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, the Dynamics and Chemistry of the Summer Stratosphere (DCOTSS) project began flying out of Salina, Kansas, July 16, and will continue science flights during the summers of 2021 and 2022. During the flights, the ER-2 will climb to altitudes as high as 70,000 feet to collect atmospheric chemistry samples to better understand material lofted into the stratosphere by convective storms.

The project will directly study the convective impacts of thunderstorms over North America and aims to understand how dynamic and chemical processes interact to determine the composition of the stratosphere, and how that composition may change in response to ongoing changes in the climate system. The overshooting tops often associated with intense thunderstorms – in which rapidly rising air forces its way past the top of lowest layer of the atmosphere – can eject pollutants and water vapor (a potent greenhouse gas) into the stratosphere, potentially affecting the ozone layer and contributing to global warming.

During the virtual event, media will learn more about the science questions the mission will address, as well as have opportunities to ask questions of the mission scientists.

Members of the media must request access to the virtual event no later than 5 p.m. EDT Monday, July 26, by sending their full name, media affiliation, email address, and phone number to Joe Atkinson at: or Elena Johnson at:

For more information on DCOTSS, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.