Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Anton S Darmenov


Anton S Darmenov's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.614.5493
Org Code: 610.1
Mail Code 610.1
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Dr. Anton Darmenov serves as an Aerosol modeler for NASA/GSFC/GMAO (Code 610.1). In this role, Dr. Darmenov is responsible for the development, implementation and enhancement of aerosol physics packages (such as MAM7 and GOCART) for the GMAO’s GEOS-5 modeling and data assimilation system. His expertise encompasses aerosol modeling, aerosol physics and atmospheric chemistry, and scientific programming. Dr. Darmenov’s research interests include atmospheric chemistry and aerosol modeling; aerosol optical and CCN/IN activation properties; direct and indirect effects of aerosol on climate; aerosol modeling to support aerosol data assimilation; integrated use of aerosol models and satellite observations. Prior to joining NASA/GSFC, Dr. Darmenov worked as an aerosol modeler for ERT, Inc. and SSAI, Inc. under the NASA GMAO’s scientific support services contract. Additionally, Dr. Darmenov has worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology where his primary research focused on blending model and satellite data for the purpose of identifying the regional thermal IR-signature of mineral dust.
Dr. Darmenov was born in Bulgaria, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the Sofia University. He also received his master’s degree in physics specializing in nuclear and elementary particles physics from the Sofia University. He earned his doctorate in atmospheric sciences from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Research Interests

Direct and indirect effects of aerosol on climate

Earth Science: Aerosols

Biomass burning emissions

Earth Science: Fire


Research assistant

NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center

July 2013 - Present

  • Primary developer and maintainer of GEOS-5 aerosol modules.
  • Co-principal investigator and primary developer of baseline MAM7 implementation in GEOS-5.
  • Testing and validation of the new GEOS-5 aerosol chemistry and microphysics package using satellite (MODIS, MISR) observations and AERONET data.
  • Providing input from the MAM7 aerosol package to GEOS-5 cloud microphysics developers.
  • Model development, preparation and evaluation of updated emissions and oxidant fields in support of the next version of the Modern Era-Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications  (MERRA 2).

Atmospheric aerosol modeler

Science Systems and Applications, Inc. - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

February 2012 - June 2013

  • Implementation, development and initial testing of the modal aerosol module MAM7 in GEOS-5.
  • Designed, developed and integrated in GEOS-5 an atmospheric chemistry component optimized for global aerosol modeling.
  • Created lookup tables with aerosol optical properties to support the integration of the modal aerosol model with the GEOS-5 radiation component.
  • Extended the Quick Fire Emission Dataset (QFED) inventory with primary emissions of chemical species that are included in the GMI chemical mechanism. Implemented a persistence model and estimates of emissions from unobserved areas utilizing MODIS fire radiative power (FRP) retrievals.

Atmospheric aerosol modeler

Earth Resources Technology Inc. - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

March 2010 - January 2012

  • Performed simulations with the coupled GEOS5/GOCART modeling system; performed code development, testing and validation of modeled aerosol distributions with NASA’s Earth Observing satellites data and ground based measurements.
  • Ensured compliance of the GEOS-5 output aerosol fields from the AR5 decadal hindcasts with the CMIP5 experimental protocol requirements.
  • Developed a satellite-data constrained parameterization of sea salt emissions for aerosol forecasting. The parameterization is currently used in the GEOS-5 Data Assimilation System.
  • Implemented a technique to optimize magnitude of global emissions of sea salt and dust aerosols for use in GEOS-5 using aerosol optical depth retrieved from MODIS and MISR.
  • Enhanced the GEOS-5 aerosol modeling capability by improving and maintaining the Quick Fire Emission Dataset (QFED); utilized aerosol optical depth from MODIS to improve estimates of biomass burning emissions for use in the GEOS-5 model.
  • Deloped a multi-decadal Fire Weather Index (FWI) dataset using the MERRA reanalysis.
  • Designed an aerosol microphysics ESMF-component based on the CESM/MAM aerosol micro-
    physics core module.

Postdoctoral fellow

Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences

January 2009 - February 2010

  • Developed an integrated Asian Dust Database containing ground based meteorological observations, satellite data and results from numerical model simulations.
  • Maintained and validated the regional dust modeling system WRF-DuMo.

Research Assistant

Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences

August 2003 - December 2008

  • Improved the capabilities of the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) to simulate atmospheric dust. Modified and optimized the existing code base for dust modeling applications.
  • Developed a coupled regional dust modeling system WRF-DuMo by incorporating the dust emission module DuMo into the WRF-Chem model.

Research Assistant

University of Colorado at Boulder - Program of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

January 2003 - August 2003

Investigated the capability of space-borne remote sensing instruments to detect and discriminate mineral dust from clouds.

Professional Research Assistant

University of Colorado at Boulder - Program of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

June 2002 - January 2003

Developed SQL database containing meteorological data fields and a web application for interactive database search.

Research Scientist

Scientific Forming Technologies Inc. - Columbus, Ohio

September 2000 - April 2002

Maintained and enhanced the DEFORMTM products for MS Windows - DEFORM PC, DEFORM-PC PRO and DEFORM-TOOLS.


Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences, 2008
School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology

M.S. in Physics, 1998
Faculty of Physics, Sofia University, Sofia, Bulgaria


  • Outstanding science support for design and implementation of an ESMF-compliant aerosol chemistry and microphysics package for the GEOS5 atmospheric general circulation model, NASA/GSFC GMAO, April, 2013.
  • Outstanding performance award for concerted group efforts in preparing CMIP5 ouput to be distributed on the Earth System Grid, NASA/GSFC GMAO, January, 2011.
  • Outstanding performance award for dedicated group efforts towards the challenging objectives for the ARRA tasks, NASA/GSFC GMAO, January, 2011.
  • Research excellence award, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, April 2007.
  • Best poster presentation award at the 3rd EAS Graduate Student Symposium, November, 2005.
  • “Eureka” Foundation scholarship, 1993.
  • XXIV International Physics Olympiad, Virginia, USA, July 1992: Honorable Mention for Recognition of Outstanding Achievement in Physics.



2024. "Multi-Agency Ensemble Forecast of Wildfire Air Quality in the United States: Toward Community Consensus of Early Warning." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society [10.1175/bams-d-23-0208.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2024. "Investigation of observed dust trends over the Middle East region in NASA Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model simulations." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 24 (4): 2443-2464 [10.5194/acp-24-2443-2024] [Journal Article/Letter]

2024. "Monitoring biomass burning aerosol transport using CALIOP observations and reanalysis models: a Canadian wildfire event in 2019." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 24 (2): 1329-1344 [10.5194/acp-24-1329-2024] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Development and Evaluation of a North America Ensemble Wildfire Air Quality Forecast: Initial Application to the 2020 Western United States “Gigafire”." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 128 (22): [10.1029/2022jd037298] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Investigation of observed dust trends over the Middle East region in NASA GEOS Earth system model simulations." EGUsphere [10.5194/egusphere-2023-1325] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Dominant role of mineral dust in cirrus cloud formation revealed by global-scale measurements." Nature Geoscience [10.1038/s41561-022-00901-w] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Mass concentration estimates of long-range-transported Canadian biomass burning aerosols from a multi-wavelength Raman polarization lidar and a ceilometer in Finland." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 14 (9): 6159-6179 [10.5194/amt-14-6159-2021] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "The response of the Amazon ecosystem to the photosynthetically active radiation fields: integrating impacts of biomass burning aerosol and clouds in the NASA GEOS Earth system model." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 21 (18): 14177-14197 [10.5194/acp-21-14177-2021] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Understanding processes that control dust spatial distributions with global climate models and satellite observations." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 20 (22): 13835-13855 [10.5194/acp-20-13835-2020] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Six Global Biomass Burning Emission Datasets: Inter-comparison and Application in one Global Aerosol Model." Atmos. Chem. Phys 20 (2): 969–994 [10.5194/acp-20-969-2020] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Observationally constrained analysis of sea salt aerosol in the marine atmosphere." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 19 10773-10785 [10.5194/acp-19-10773-2019] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Modeling Dust in East Asia by CESM and Sources of Biases." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 124 8043-8064 [10.1029/2019jd030799] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "A Geostationary Instrument Simulator for Aerosol Observing System Simulation Experiments." Atmosphere 10 (1): 2 [10.3390/atmos10010002] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "A new global anthropogenic SO2 emission inventory for the last decade: a mosaic of satellite-derived and bottom-up emissions." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 18 (22): 16571-16586 [10.5194/acp-18-16571-2018] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Link Between Arctic Tropospheric BrO Explosion Observed From Space and Sea-Salt Aerosols From Blowing Snow Investigated Using Ozone Monitoring Instrument BrO Data and GEOS-5 Data Assimilation System." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 123 [10.1029/2017jd026889] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "The implementation of NEMS GFS Aerosol Component (NGAC) Version 2.0 for global multispecies forecasting at NOAA/NCEP – Part 1: Model descriptions." Geoscientific Model Development 11 (6): 2315-2332 [10.5194/gmd-11-2315-2018] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "The MERRA-2 Aerosol Reanalysis, 1980 – onward, Part I: System Description and Data Assimilation Evaluation." Journal of Climate 30 (17): 6823-6850 [10.1175/jcli-d-16-0609.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "The MERRA-2 Aerosol Reanalysis, 1980 -- onward, Part II: Evaluation and Case Studies." Journal of Climate JCLI-D-16-0613.1 [10.1175/jcli-d-16-0613.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "The Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, Version 2 (MERRA-2)." Journal of Climate 30 5419–5454 [10.1175/jcli-d-16-0758.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "The MERRA-2 Aerosol Assimilation." Technical Report Series on Global Modeling and Data Assimilation 45 [Report]

2015. "Using the OMI aerosol index and absorption aerosol optical depth to evaluate the NASA MERRA Aerosol Reanalysis ." Atmos. Chem. Phys. 15 5743-5760 [10.5194/acp-15-5743-2015] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Improved western U.S. background ozone estimates via constraining nonlocal and local source contributions using Aura TES and OMI observations." J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 120 (8): 3572-3592 [10.1002/2014jd022993] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Source attributions of pollution to the Western Arctic during the NASA ARCTAS field campaign." Atmos. Chem. Phys. 13 (9): 4707-4721 [10.5194/acp-13-4707-2013] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "Spatial variability of satellite visible radiances in dust and dust-cloud mixed conditions: Implications for dust detection." Geophys. Res. Lett. 36 L14811 [doi:10.1029/2009GL038383] [Journal Article/Letter]

2005. "Characterization of east Asian dust outbreaks in the spring of 2001 using ground-based and satellite data." J. Geophys. Res. 110 D02204 [doi:10.1029/2004JD004842] [Journal Article/Letter]

2005. "Identifying the regional thermal-IR radiative signature of mineral dust with MODIS." Geophys. Res. Lett. 32 L16803 [doi:10.1029/2005GL023092] [Journal Article/Letter]


2021. "File Specification for MERRA-2 Country-Level Surface PM2.5 Monthly Mean Products." GMAO Office Note No. 20 (Version 1.0): 10 [Full Text] [Other]

2015. "The Quick Fire Emissions Dataset (QFED): Documentation of versions 2.1, 2.2 and 2.4." NASA Technical Report Series on Global Modeling and Data Assimilation 38 (NASA/TM–2015–104606): [Report]

2015. "Evaluation of the 7-km GEOS-5 Nature Run." NASA Technical Report Series on Global Modeling and Data Assimilation 36 (NASA/TM-2014-104606): [Report]