Robert L. de Zafra
Ph.D., 1958, University of Maryland
1932 – 2017
Honors and Obituaries
I am a physicist who has been concerned for over three decades with developing and applying accurate, sensitive methods for making remote measurements of stratospheric trace gases (such as those involved in ozone deletion chemistry) and stratospheric transport. I and colleagues at Stony Brook developed a unique ground-based remote sensing spectrometer, able to identify and quantitatively measure molecular rotational emission spectra from stratospheric trace gases present in as little as a few tenths of a part per billion of ambient air pressure. With this technique, we have been measuring and monitoring the destructive effects of chlorofluorocarbons on stratospheric ozone since 1981, and more recently concentrating on other aspects of stratospheric chemistry and transport.
I also have an ongoing concern with instrumentation, and much of the time between field trips has been spent with my students in expanding the capabilities and improving the sensitivity of our remote-sensing spectrometers. We are incorporating state-of-the-art technology in mm-wave receivers and other aspects of our instrumentation. The multidisciplinary requirements of our research have given students a wide range of topics to work on.
I am retired from teaching and am no longer taking on research students, though I continue to participate in the activities of the Institute of Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres, and continue research collaboration with one of my last PhD students, who is now operating our equipment at Thule Greenland on a seasonal basis and testing a new water vapor monitoring spectrometer for deployment in 2013.
C. Di Biagio, G. Muscari, R. L. de Zafra, A. di Sarra, R.L. de Zafra, P. Ericksen, G. Fiocco, I. Fiorucci, and D. Fua., “Evolution of Temperature, O3, CO and N2O profiles during the exceptional 2009 Arctic major stratospheric warming as observed by lidar and mm-wave spectroscopy at Thule (76.5N, 68.8W), Greenland”, J. Geophy. Res., 2011
Fiorucci, I., G. Muscari, C. Bianchi, P. Di Girolamo, F. Esposito, G. Grieco, D. Summa, G. Bianchini, L. Palchetti, M. Cacciani, T. Di Iorio, G. Pavese, D. Cimini, and R. L. de Zafra “Measurements of low amounts of precipitable water vapor by mm-wave spectroscopy: an intercomparison with radiosonde, Raman Lidar and FTIR data”, (2008), J. Geophy. Res., 113, D14314, doi:10.1029/2008JD009831, 2008.
Muscari G., C. Cesaroni, C. Bianchi, R. L. de Zafra, T. Di Iorio, I. Fiorucci, D. Fuà, V. Romaniello, and E. Zuccheretti “Millimeter wave spectroscopic measurements of stratospheric and mesospheric constituents over the Italian Alps: stratospheric ozone”, Ann. Geophys., 50, 469-482, 2007.
Nemuc and R. L. de Zafra “Ozone profiles over the South Pole from ground-based retrievals and satellite data”, Adv. Mater., Vol. 9 3533-3540, 2007
R. L. de Zafra and G. Muscari, “CO as an important high altitude tracer of dynamics in the Polar stratosphere and mesosphere”, J. Geophy. Res., 109, D0610510.1029/2003JD004099, 2004.
R. L. de Zafra, G. Muscari, and S. Smyshlyaev, “On the Cryogenic Removal of NOy from the Antarctic polar stratosphere”, Annals of Geophysics, Vol. 46, No.2, pg. 285 (special section in honor of Georgio Fiocco), 2003.
G. Muscari, R. L. de Zafra, and S. Smyshlyaev, “Evolution of the NOy-N2O correlation in the Antarctic stratosphere during 1993 and 1995″, J. Geophy. Res., 108, NO. D14, 4428, doi:10.1029/2002JD002871, 2003
G. Muscari, M.L. Santee, and R. L. de Zafra, “Intercomparison of stratospheric HNO3 measurements over Antarctica: Ground-based millimeter-wave versus UARS/MLS Version 5 retrievals”, J. Geophys. Res. 107, ACH 25-1 – ACH 25-12, Dec. 31, 2002
R. L. de Zafra and S. Smyshlyaev, “On the formation of HNO3 in the Antarctic mid-to-upper stratosphere in winter”, J. Geophy. Res. 106, 23,115-23,125, 2001
M. McDonald, R. L. de Zafra, and G. Muscari, “Millimeter wave spectroscopic measurements over the South Pole 5: Morphology and evolution of HNO3 vertical distribution, 1993 versus 1995″, J. Geophy. Res. 105, 17,739-17,750, 2000.