Probing the Environment

Published: Jan 17, 2002


“Probing Our Impact on the Environment”

A member of the physics faculty since 1984 and a 1974 UMBC graduate, Larrabee Strow is one of the chief scientists behind NASA’s $30 billion international Earth Observing System project. He developed a new satellite instrument, the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), and complex algorithms that will be used to measure climate change. The data collected by AIRS will be used by scientists around the world to better understand weather and climate change and by the National Weather Service and others to improve the accuracy of weather and climate models.

Strow’s work on the NASA project over the past 10 years is one of the most significant examples of UMBC’s emergence as a major research center for environmental studies.

In 2000, the University entered into a $75 million cooperative agreement with NASA/Goddard — the largest research partnership in UMBC’s history — establishing UMBC as the headquarters for the Goddard Earth Science and Technology Center, which studies the Earth’s surface, atmosphere, and oceans. The University also received $2 million in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to create the Center for Urban Environmental Research, Education, and Training.


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