Preface to the NASA Global Tropospheric Experiment Transport and Chemical Evolution Over the Pacific (TRACE-P): Measurements and analysis


[1] This special issue reports results from NASA's Transport and Chemical Evolution Over the Pacific (TRACE-P) field campaign, the 15th study to be carried out in the Global Tropospheric Experiment (GTE) program series. Owing to the large number of papers, this special section has been divided into two components and has been printed in consecutive journal issues. Reginald Newell, a member of the TRACE-P science team, passed away on 29 December 2002, slightly over a year and a half after the completion of this campaign. It is through the papers of this issue that the TRACE-P science team and NASA's project management staff recognize and honor Reg's immense contributions to the GTE science program and to atmospheric sciences, more generally.

[2] TRACE-P, like four of its predecessor programs, was focused on atmospheric chemistry over the Pacific Ocean. The commitment by GTE to study this expansive ocean was, in no short measure, due to the skillful and persistent scientific lobbying of Reginald Newell. Even well before this (e.g., 1981), Reg, along with four other members of a newly formed NASA tropospheric chemistry committee, was busy at work defining the foundation of GTE. He and the rest of the committee convinced the earth sciences component of this organization that the future of atmospheric chemistry was in global field sampling campaigns. This they proposed to do using versatile airborne sampling platforms. It was further proposed that these aircraft needed to be equipped with the latest in sensor technology, encompassing both high-sensitivity as well as fast-response-time instruments. Thus GTE was launched. As many in our community know, this program has achieved some of the greatest advances in atmospheric chemistry over the past 30 years.

[3] Reg's passion for studying the Pacific was equaled only by his passion for promoting the collecting and analyzing of massive arrays of chemical and meteorological data. He enthusiastically championed the idea that the Pacific was the last major region on our planet that was still relatively untouched by humankind emissions. He believed that it was our responsibility to future generations to establish the chemical nature of this atmosphere before the dramatically growing population centers along its coastline caused irreparable harm.

[4] His encyclopedic command of meteorological information on the Pacific, especially the tropics, could frequently leave one in a state of awe. His creative juices could reach a near-boiling point as discussions shifted to the topics of stratosphere-troposphere exchange, tropospheric stalactites, transported rivers of air, and chemical layering within the troposphere.

[5] His enthusiasm for atmospheric science was truly infectious, and to interact with him in either a group setting or one-on-one was a unique experience. In the latter case the interaction would typically begin with one trying to find a room that did not have fluorescent lights. After finding the one room in the building without such lights the discussion would move forward. With the pouring forth of voluminous amounts of meteorological information, including several transparencies if an overhead projector was nearby, Reg typically left the average listener fully energized and ready to sign on for the next task.

[6] Many professors have the ability to inspire their graduate students and staff, and Reg was clearly one of these. However, with Reg, this ability was exercised with all individuals he encountered. He seemed to be especially gifted in his ability to find the positive in any situation or development. As a result, he could always find a way to encourage those with whom he interacted, whether a research scientist, a student, a secretary, or someone serving him fish-and-chips. Perhaps as important as any of the other stated qualities that Reg possessed, to many, he was just a lot of fun to be around.

[7] Reg's accomplishments as a scientist are well known and are incredibly impressive to those that are close to this science. Just as important, however, were his gifts of boundless energy and ideas, which he shared with all of us. Many of us will never be able to visit the Pacific again without thinking of Reg. He was a very positive force, and his life here should be celebrated for what it brought to us.