The primary goals of AERONET are the investigation of the optical properties of atmospheric aerosols for application to studies of the effects of aerosols on the atmospheric radiation balance and climate and for the validation of satellite retrievals of aerosol properties. These ground-based remote sensing retrievals of aerosol optical properties are analyzed to better understand the dynamics of aerosol properties as a function of source region, transport, aging processes, and interaction with clouds.
Mr. Thomas F. Eck received a BS in meteorology from Rutgers University in 1977 and an MS in meteorology from the University of Maryland (College Park) in 1982 where his major interests were in micrometeorology and atmospheric radiation. In 1981 he began work at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and has continued there (in association with the Biospheric Sciences Branch, Code 618) for 30 years, through to the present. During his career he was involved in algorithm development and data analysis for the Nimbus-7 cloud climatology project. He was also active in instrument calibration, field instrument deployment, and data analysis for the PARABOLA instrument project (plant canopy bi-directional reflectance), and analysis of AVHRR satellite data for water vapor retrievals. Beginning in 1992 and continuing through the present he has carried out instrument calibration and deployment, field experimentation, data analysis, and scientific research within the global Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) project. He has authored and co-authored over 100 papers in the refereed literature with recent emphasis on studies of the optical properties of atmospheric aerosols, in particular from biomass burning, fossil fuel combustion, coarse-fine mode mixtures, also aerosol modification by cloud processing and the attenuation of solar flux by aerosols.