Our Contributions & Customers

Contributions at Many Levels: A Summary

CSD contributes to all steps of the process that leads to fundamental science in the service of humankind:

Making landmark scientific discoveries

  • discovering the cause of the Antarctic ozone hole
  • understanding the processes that determine the quality of the air we breathe
  • studying how the atmosphere's chemistry and physics might influence the climate of the Earth

Participating in the periodic international efforts that assess the "state of the science" on the topics of ozone layer depletion, air quality, and climate

  • playing leading roles in the coordination, preparation, and review of the World Meteorological Organization/United Nations Environment Programme scientific assessments of ozone depletion
  • playing leading roles in the preparation and review of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments
  • playing leading roles in the planning, preparation, and review of the North American Research Strategy for Tropospheric Ozone scientific assessments of surface-level ozone and of atmospheric fine particles

Providing scientific input to national and international policymakers

  • responding to requests for scientific information and briefings from state and federal government leaders
  • serving as science advisor to the U.S. delegation at meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • serving as scientific consultant for the United Nations Environment Programme during Meetings of the Parties to the United Nations Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

Providing the scientific basis for decisions made in industry

  • evaluating the "ozone friendliness" and "climate friendliness" of proposed new substitutes for chlorofluorocarbons, before expensive development costs are incurred by private industry
  • determining the climate impacts of human-made substances with commercial or industrial applications

Public education on the science of environmental issues that affect society

  • teaching undergraduate or graduate students at the university or one-time specialized courses
  • preparing materials for use by the general public and in schools
  • making presentations at schools, science festivals, and community group meetings
  • responding to individual requests for information
  • leading the preparation of documents for the public and students that answer "frequently asked questions" on the ozone layer

Beyond "Doing the Science": Communicating with the Customer

The scientists at CSD conduct fundamental research on the Earth's atmosphere, always in relation to key environmental issues that influence the health of that thin envelope of air.

The hallmark of the Chemical Sciences Division is its leadership in first

doing the scientific research

and then

assessing the status of our knowledge on key issues that affect society, and

communicating the results to those who need and want the information.

We go beyond the first step of "doing the science" because the CSD's research on the atmosphere has several audiences. Clearly, one of those is the larger community of scientists around the globe. But the scientific issues addressed at CSD have a much broader reach; in fact, every person has an interest because the issues concern the health and well-being of the Earth's atmosphere. It is only natural that national and international decisionmakers comprise one audience for the Division's research, as they face challenges related to the protection of the environment. Industry leaders, faced with decisions about activities that have potential impacts upon the atmosphere, are another group that looks to CSD for scientific guidance. And most definitely, the general public has a keen interest in the status of the atmosphere's health.