Several national and international organizations have established committees for the development of atmospheric reference models, e.g., the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), and the Committee on Extension to the Standard Atmosphere (COESA). Probably the most widely used and well established model is the COSPAR International Reference Atmosphere (CIRA), an effort that started in 1961 with the publication of CIRA-61. CIRA-72, the third generation of this model, CIRA-86, includes Jacchia's 1971 model.
With the launch of the OGO 6 satellite in 1969, in situ measurements of atmospheric parameters by mass spectrometer became available. At about the same time, ground-based incoherent scatter radars started to monitor the thermospheric temperature. A. E. Hedin and his co-workers combined data from these two data sources to establish the Mass Spectrometer Incoherent Scatter (MSIS) models: MSIS-77, -83, -86. The CIRA and MSIS groups joined forces in 1986 and MSIS-86 became the upper part of CIRA-86.
Description of storm effects remains one of the most challenging topics in thermospheric modeling. DE-2 wind measurements have shown characteristic high- latitude wind signatures caused by similar IMF (Interplanetary Magnetic Field)- dependent signatures in ionospheric convection.