Sciences and Exploration Directorate

John T. Sullivan

(Rsch AST, Atmospheric Chemistry & Dyn)


Org Code: 614

Mail Code: 614
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Employer: NASA

Brief Bio

Dr. John T. Sullivan currently works in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, MD). He is currently the NASA Tropospheric Ozone Lidar Network (TOLNet) project scientist. His expertise is in performing measurements of atmospheric constituents using active remote sensing techniques, such as lidar (light detection and ranging), for applications such as air quality, satellite validation, and stratospheric trends. Dr. Sullivan has been critical in designing, calibrating, and deploying  transportable lidars for measuring tropospheric and stratospheric ozone profiles in NASA campaigns, such as DISCOVER-AQ and KORUS-AQ and various NDACC intercomparison campaigns. He was awarded the NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellowship to continue his contribution of novel observations of the atmosphere to further NASA’s science exploration. In 2017, he was named as the Early Career Scientist associated with the NASA Science Innovation Fund (SIF) supported Ozone Water-Land Environmental Transition Study (OWLETS) in the Tidewater, VA region. He transitioned to the PI for the 2018 OWLETS field deployment within the northern Chesapeake region and the Co-PI for the TRACER-AQ (Tracking Aerosol Convection interactions ExpeRiment - Air Quality) in the Houston, TX metropolitan area in 2021. He serves as the Co-PI for the Synergistic TEMPO Air Quality Study (STAQS), which provides NASA TEMPO satellite validation and evaluation data sets from across the U.S. His role within TOLNet is to guide an inter-agency cadre of scientists and researchers to provide high spatio-temporal observations of boundary layer and free tropospheric ozone to study the character of the atmospheric structure that can be used to better evaluate satellite retrievals and improve the processes in air-quality forecast and diagnostic models.


Tropospheric Ozone Lidar Network (TOLNet) Project Scientist

NASA - Greenbelt, MD

October 2019 - Present

Research Physical Scientist

NASA - Greenbelt, MD

December 2017 - Present

Postdoctoral Research Associate

UMBC/JCET - Baltimore, MD

July 2017 - December 2017

Posdoctoral Fellow (NPP)

NASA/USRA - Greenbelt, MD

February 2016 - July 2017

Postdoctoral Fellow (NPP)

NASA/ORAU - Greenbelt, MD

July 2015 - February 2016

Teaching Experience

Teaching Fellow, UMBC-CCBC, Fall 2013

  • PHYS 101 - Fundamentals of Physics I (Lecture)
  • PHYS 111 - Physical Sciences Lab (Lab)
  • PHYS 151 - General Physics I (Lab)
  • PHYS 252 - General Physics III (Lab)

Ph.D. Commitee Member, Brian Carroll, "Observations of Low-Level Jet Physics and Impacts", University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2020. 

Ph.D. Commitee Member, Zhifeng Yang, "Improving Air Quality Forecasts of Ozone: Modeling-Observation Integrated Study", University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2021. 

Ph.D. Co-Advisor, Maurice Roots, "Observations of Tropospheric Ozone Production and Dynamics", University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2024. 

Co-Mentor, Amber Schlessiger, "Meteorological links to Houston’s Ozone Air Quality during TRACER-AQ", NASA, 2021 

Mentor, Trong Hieu Nguyen, "Lidar Automation and Software Development for Tropospheric Ozone DIAL" University of Central Florida, 2020-present

Mentor, Natasha Dacic, "Evaluation of NASA's high-resolution global composition simulations: Understanding a pollution event in the Chesapeake Bay during the summer 2017 OWLETS campaign" University of Michigan, 2018-2020. 

Mentor, Lance Niño, "Characterizing Spatio-Temporal Ozone Gradients Along Coastal Boundaries: Sondes and Mobile Measurements from OWLETS-2" Colorado State University, 2017-2019. 

Co - NPP Advisor, Alexander Kotsakis, "Characterizing temporal and spatial variability of Pandora ozone measurements over land-water pollution gradients", 2018-2021


Ph.D., Atmospheric Physics, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2015

"Improving the Current Understanding of the Evolution and Vertical Processes of Tropospheric Ozone Using a Ground Based Differential Absorption Lidar", Advisor: Dr. Raymond M. Hoff

M.S., Atmospheric Physics, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2012

B.A. Physics, McDaniel College, 2010

Professional Societies

American Geophysical Union

2011 - Present

American Meteorological Society

AMS Committee for Laser Atmospheric Studies (CLAS)

2012 - Present


Inaba Award, 30th International Laser Radar Conference (ILRC- 30), 2022. This prize is awarded during each ILRC to an individual under the age of 40 who is judged to have presented the best paper at the ILRC.

Special Act Award on Behalf of NASA GSFC Earth Sciences and Exploration Directorate, John T. Sullivan, 2020

NASA Headquarters Honors Group Achievement Award, Tropospheric Ozone Lidar Network, 2019

NASA Outstanding Group Achievement Award, OWLETS Science Team, 2019

NASA Outstanding Group Achievement Award, KORUS-AQ Science Team, 2018

NASA Outstanding Group Achievement Award, DISCOVER-AQ Science Team, 2016

Selected Publications


Roots, M., J. T. Sullivan, R. Delgado, L. Twigg, and B. Demoz. 2023. An integrated monitoring system (IMS) for air quality: Observations of a unique ozone-exceedance event in Maryland Atmospheric Environment 313 120028 [10.1016/j.atmosenv.2023.120028]

Liu, X., Y. Wang, S. Wasti, et al. W. Li, E. Soleimanian, J. Flynn, T. Griggs, S. Alvarez, J. T. Sullivan, M. Roots, L. Twigg, G. Gronoff, T. Berkoff, P. Walter, M. Estes, J. W. Hair, T. Shingler, A. J. Scarino, M. Fenn, and L. Judd. 2023. Evaluating WRF-GC v2.0 predictions of boundary layer height and vertical ozone profile during the 2021 TRACER-AQ campaign in Houston, Texas Geoscientific Model Development 16 (18): 5493-5514 [10.5194/gmd-16-5493-2023]

Sullivan, J. T., R. M. Stauffer, A. M. Thompson, et al. M. A. Tzortziou, C. P. Loughner, C. E. Jordan, and J. A. Santanello. 2023. Surf, Turf, and Above the Earth: Unmet Needs for Coastal Air Quality Science in the Planetary Boundary Layer (PBL) Earth's Future 11 (6): [10.1029/2023ef003535]

Johnson, M. S., A. H. Souri, S. Philip, et al. R. Kumar, A. Naeger, J. Geddes, L. Judd, S. Janz, H. Chong, and J. Sullivan. 2023. Satellite remote-sensing capability to assess tropospheric-column ratios of formaldehyde and nitrogen dioxide: case study during the Long Island Sound Tropospheric Ozone Study 2018 (LISTOS 2018) field campaign Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 16 (9): 2431-2454 [10.5194/amt-16-2431-2023]

Bernier, C., Y. Wang, G. Gronoff, et al. T. Berkoff, K. E. Knowland, J. T. Sullivan, R. Delgado, V. Caicedo, and B. Carroll. 2022. Cluster-based characterization of multi-dimensional tropospheric ozone variability in coastal regions: an analysis of lidar measurements and model results Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 22 (23): 15313-15331 [10.5194/acp-22-15313-2022]

Sullivan, J. T., A. Apituley, N. Mettig, et al. K. Kreher, K. E. Knowland, M. Allaart, A. Piters, M. Van Roozendael, P. Veefkind, J. R. Ziemke, N. Kramarova, M. Weber, A. Rozanov, L. Twigg, G. Sumnicht, and T. J. McGee. 2022. Tropospheric and stratospheric ozone profiles during the 2019 TROpomi vaLIdation eXperiment (TROLIX-19) Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 22 (17): 11137-11153 [10.5194/acp-22-11137-2022]

Kotsakis, A., J. T. Sullivan, T. F. Hanisco, et al. R. J. Swap, V. Caicedo, T. A. Berkoff, G. Gronoff, C. P. Loughner, X. Ren, W. T. Luke, P. Kelley, P. R. Stratton, R. Delgado, N. Abuhassan, L. Shalaby, F. C. Santos, and J. Dreessen. 2022. Sensitivity of total column NO2 at a marine site within the Chesapeake Bay during OWLETS-2 Atmospheric Environment 277 119063 [10.1016/j.atmosenv.2022.119063]

Jensen, M. P., J. H. Flynn, L. M. Judd, et al. P. Kollias, C. Kuang, G. Mcfarquhar, R. Nadkarni, H. Powers, and J. Sullivan. 2022. A Succession of Cloud, Precipitation, Aerosol, and Air Quality Field Experiments in the Coastal Urban Environment Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 103 (2): 103-105 [10.1175/bams-d-21-0104.1]

Su, J., M. P. McCormick, M. S. Johnson, et al. J. T. Sullivan, M. J. Newchurch, T. A. Berkoff, S. Kuang, and G. P. Gronoff. 2021. Tropospheric NO2; measurements using a three-wavelength optical parametric oscillator differential absorption lidar Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 14 (6): 4069-4082 [10.5194/amt-14-4069-2021]

Dacic, N., J. T. Sullivan, K. E. Knowland, et al. G. M. Wolfe, L. D. Oman, T. A. Berkoff, and G. P. Gronoff. 2019. Evaluation of NASA's high-resolution global composition simulations: Understanding a pollution event in the Chesapeake Bay during the summer 2017 OWLETS campaign Atmospheric Environment 117133 [10.1016/j.atmosenv.2019.117133]

Jeong, D., R. Seco, D. Gu, et al. Y. Lee, B. A. Nault, C. J. Knote, T. Mcgee, J. T. Sullivan, J. L. Jimenez, P. Campuzano-Jost, D. R. Blake, D. Sanchez, A. B. Guenther, D. Tanner, L. G. Huey, R. Long, B. E. Anderson, S. R. Hall, K. Ullmann, H.-J. Shin, S. C. Herndon, Y. Lee, D. Kim, J. Ahn, and S. Kim. 2019. Integration of Airborne and Ground Observations of Nitryl Chloride in the Seoul Metropolitan Area and the Implications on Regional Oxidation Capacity During KORUS-AQ 2016 Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 19 12779–1279 [10.5194/acp-19-12779-2019]

Sullivan, J. T., T. J. McGee, R. M. Stauffer, et al. A. M. Thompson, A. Weinheimer, C. Knote, S. Janz, A. Wisthaler, R. Long, J. Szykman, J. Park, Y. Lee, S. Kim, D. Jeong, D. Sanchez, L. Twigg, G. Sumnicht, T. Knepp, and J. R. Schroeder. 2019. Taehwa Research Forest: a receptor site for severe domestic pollution events in Korea during 2016 Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 19 5051-5067 []

Sullivan, J. T., T. Berkoff, G. Gronoff, et al. T. Knepp, M. Pippin, D. Allen, L. Twigg, R. Swap, M. Tzortziou, A. M. Thompson, R. M. Stauffer, G. M. Wolfe, J. Flynn, S. E. Pusede, L. Judd, W. Moore, B. D. Baker, J. Al-Saadi, and T. J. McGee. 2019. The Ozone Water-Land Environmental Transition Study (OWLETS): An Innovative Strategy for Understanding Chesapeake Bay Pollution Events Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 100 (2): 291-306 [10.1175/BAMS-D-18-0025.1]

Oltmans, S. J., L. C. Cheadle, B. J. Johnson, et al. R. C. Schnell, D. Helmig, A. M. Thompson, P. Cullis, E. Hall, A. Jordan, C. Sterling, A. McClure-Begley, J. T. Sullivan, T. J. McGee, and D. Wolfe. 2019. Boundary layer ozone in the Northern Colorado Front Range in July–August 2014 during FRAPPE and DISCOVER-AQ from vertical profile measurements Elem Sci Anth 7 (1): 6 [10.1525/elementa.345]

Leblanc, T., M. A. Brewer, P. S. Wang, et al. M. J. Granados-Muñoz, K. B. Strawbridge, M. Travis, B. Firanski, J. T. Sullivan, T. J. McGee, G. K. Sumnicht, L. W. Twigg, T. A. Berkoff, W. Carrion, G. Gronoff, A. Aknan, G. Chen, R. J. Alvarez, A. O. Langford, C. J. Senff, G. Kirgis, M. S. Johnson, S. Kuang, and M. J. Newchurch. 2018. Validation of the TOLNet lidars: the Southern California Ozone Observation Project (SCOOP) Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 11 (11): 6137-6162 [10.5194/amt-11-6137-2018]

McGee, T. J., J. T. Sullivan, L. W. Twigg, et al. G. K. Sumnicht, J. Barnes, T. Leblanc, and S. McDermid. 2018. Lidar validation measurements at the NOAA Mauna Loa Observatory NDACC Station Lidar Remote Sensing for Environmental Monitoring XVI [10.1117/12.2324714]

Johnson, M. S., X. Liu, P. Zoogman, et al. J. Sullivan, M. J. Newchurch, S. Kuang, T. Leblanc, and T. McGee. 2018. Evaluation of potential sources of a priori ozone profiles for TEMPO tropospheric ozone retrievals Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 11 (6): 3457-3477 [10.5194/amt-11-3457-2018]

Sullivan, J., T. McGee, A. Thompson, et al. L. Twigg, G. Sumnicht, and R. Stauffer. 2018. Boundary layer pollution profiles from a rural site in South Korea EPJ Web of Conferences 176 04004 [10.1051/epjconf/201817604004]

Wang, L., M. J. Newchurch, R. J. Alvarez II, et al. T. A. Berkoff, S. S. Brown, W. Carrion, R. J. De Young, B. J. Johnson, R. Ganoe, G. Gronoff, G. Kirgis, S. Kuang, A. O. Langford, T. Leblanc, E. E. McDuffie, T. J. McGee, D. Pliutau, C. J. Senff, J. T. Sullivan, G. Sumnicht, L. W. Twigg, and A. J. Weinheimer. 2017. Quantifying TOLNet ozone lidar accuracy during the 2014 DISCOVER-AQ and FRAPPÉ campaigns Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 10 (10): 3865-3876 [10.5194/amt-10-3865-2017]

Pfister, G. G., P. J. Reddy, M. C. Barth, et al. F. F. Flocke, A. Fried, S. C. Herndon, B. C. Sive, J. T. Sullivan, A. M. Thompson, T. I. Yacovitch, A. J. Weinheimer, and A. Wisthaler. 2017. Using Observations and Source-Specific Model Tracers to Characterize Pollutant Transport During FRAPPÉ and DISCOVER-AQ Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 122 (19): 10,510-10,538 [10.1002/2017jd027257]

Sullivan, J. T., S. D. Rabenhorst, J. Dreessen, et al. T. J. McGee, R. Delgado, L. Twigg, and G. Sumnicht. 2017. Lidar observations revealing transport of O3 in the presence of a nocturnal low-level jet: Regional implications for “next-day” pollution Atmospheric Environment 158 (June 2017): 160-171 [10.1016/j.atmosenv.2017.03.039]

Sullivan, J. T., T. J. McGee, A. O. Langford, et al. R. J. Alvarez, C. J. Senff, P. J. Reddy, A. M. Thompson, L. W. Twigg, G. K. Sumnicht, P. Lee, A. Weinheimer, C. Knote, R. W. Long, and R. M. Hoff. 2016. Quantifying the contribution of thermally driven recirculation to a high-ozone event along the Colorado Front Range using lidar Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 121 [10.1002/2016jd025229]

Sullivan, J. T., T. J. McGee, R. M. Hoff, G. Sumnicht, and L. Twigg. 2016. Characterizing the Vertical Processes of Ozone in Colorado’s Front Range Using the GSFC Ozone DIAL EPJ Web of Conferences 119 05014 [10.1051/epjconf/201611905014]

Newchurch, M. J., S. Kuang, T. Leblanc, et al. R. J. Alvarez, A. O. Langford, C. J. Senff, J. F. Burris, T. J. McGee, J. T. Sullivan, R. J. DeYoung, J. Al-Saadi, M. Johnson, and A. Pszenny. 2016. TOLNET – A Tropospheric Ozone Lidar Profiling Network for Satellite Continuity and Process Studies EPJ Web of Conferences 119 20001 [10.1051/epjconf/201611920001]

Dreessen, J., J. Sullivan, and R. Delgado. 2016. Observations and Impacts of Transported Canadian Wildfire Smoke on Ozone and Aerosol Air Quality in the Maryland Region on 9-12 June, 2015 Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association 66 (no. 9): 842-862 [10.1080/10962247.2016.1161674]

Sullivan, J. T., T. J. Mcgee, A. M. Thompson, et al. R. B. Pierce, G. K. Sumnicht, L. W. Twigg, E. Eloranta, and R. M. Hoff. 2015. Characterizing the lifetime and occurrence of stratospheric-tropospheric exchange events in the rocky mountain region using high-resolution ozone measurements Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 120 (24): 12410--12424 [10.1002/2015JD023877]

Sullivan, J., T. McGee, T. Leblanc, G. Sumnicht, and L. Twigg. 2015. Optimization of the GSFC TROPOZ DIAL retrieval using synthetic lidar returns and ozonesondes--Part 1: Algorithm validation Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 8 (10): 4133--4143 [10.5194/amt-8-4133-2015]

Sullivan, J. T., T. J. McGee, R. DeYoung, et al. L. W. Twigg, G. K. Sumnicht, D. Pliutau, T. Knepp, and W. Carrion. 2015. Results from the NASA GSFC and LaRC Ozone Lidar Intercomparison: New Mobile Tools for Atmospheric Research Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 32 (10): 1779-1795 [10.1175/jtech-d-14-00193.1]

Sullivan, J., T. McGee, G. Sumnicht, L. Twigg, and R. Hoff. 2014. A mobile differential absorption lidar to measure sub-hourly fluctuation of tropospheric ozone profiles in the Baltimore--Washington, DC region Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 7 (10): 3529--3548 [10.5194/amt-7-3529-2014]


Sullivan, J. T., J. Dreessen, T. Berkoff, et al. R. Delgado, X. Ren, and T. Aburn. 2020. OWLETS: An Enhanced Monitoring Strategy Directly within the Chesapeake Bay EM: Environmental Manager Special Issue 6 pp