Atmospheric Sciences

Atmospheric Sciences

scientist from atmospheric sciences climbing a tower on the back of a DRI truck

The Division of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) conducts basic and applied research and provides services related to air quality and associated health risks, cloud and aerosol physics, atmospheric chemistry, climate, renewable energy, fire science, and atmospheric dynamics.

DAS researchers develop instrumentation for observations from the ground, unmanned and human-piloted aircraft, and satellites in addition to techniques for observational programs. Inorganic and organic chemistry laboratories provide trace analysis of atmospheric pollutants, supporting assessments of human impacts on air quality. The Division has extensive capabilities in numerical modeling of atmospheric and air pollution processes for meteorology, atmospheric dynamics, precipitation processes, atmospheric chemistry, aerosol formation, visibility assessments, urban air quality, and transport of pollutants in complex terrain.

DAS personnel operate primarily from office and laboratory facilities in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada. Faculty and staff maintain $30-40 million in active projects for federal, state, and local governments, Tribes, private industry, foundations, and universities. 

As part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, DAS faculty administer and teach in the Atmospheric Sciences Graduate Program at the University of Nevada, Reno, where students conduct their research under the supervision of DAS faculty while working toward an M.S. or Ph.D. degree.

Our Research Areas


Air quality


Atmospheric processes


Characterization of pollutants


Climatology and meteorology


Wildland fire


Modeling of the atmosphere


Weather modification


Exposure health effects

Atmospheric Scientists knee deep in mud setting up equipment

Our Faculty and Staff

Meet the people doing Atmospheric Science research and innovation at DRI.

Our Research Partners

Federal Sponsors

Department of Energy

Department of Defense

National Aeronautics & Space Administration

National Science Foundation

State Sponsors

Nevada Division of Environmental Protection

Nevada Division of State Lands

Local Government

City of Reno

Clark County

Nevada Tahoe Conservation District

Truckee Meadows Water Authority

Southern Nevada Water Authority

Private Sponsors

Clean Air Task Force


WorldVision, Inc.


Naresh Kumar, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Division of Atmospheric Sciences
Desert Research Institute
2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, NV 89512