This group is pursuing a range of projects that aim to improve understanding of the chemical composition of the atmosphere, how it is affected by humans and by natural processes, and the implications for health, air pollution, and climate change.
Ongoing research foci include:
- Development, evaluation, and maintenance of a standard NASA satellite product for atmospheric isoprene. Isoprene is the single most important non-methane volatile organic compound in Earth’s atmosphere, and shapes tropospheric composition through its impacts on ozone, aerosols, the atmosphere’s oxidizing capacity, and the nitrogen cycle.
- New volatile organic compound (VOC) measurements from space to understand anthropogenic, natural and fire emissions to the atmosphere. Atmospheric VOCs play key roles in determining air quality, the nitrogen cycle, and the atmosphere’s oxidizing capacity. This new project is developing new capabilities for measuring VOCs from space and applying them to understand their global sources and impacts.
- Measuring wildfire emissions from space. Wildfire emissions have major impacts on air quality and climate and are increasing with climate change. The researchers are developing new satellite capabilities to map wildfire emissions from space.
- Closing the atmospheric methane budget. The researchers are using atmospheric modeling and 4DVar variational assimilation to interpret new aircraft and satellite measurements to advance scientific understanding and predictability of the North American and global methane budget. Methane is the second-most important human-caused greenhouse gas with a range of natural and anthropogenic sources that are not well constrained.
- Flux Closure Study (FluCS). This collaborative study aims to better understand the two-way chemical interactions between forests and the atmosphere. Terrestrial ecosystems are the largest source and a major sink of reactive carbon for the global atmosphere, and these two-way fluxes are a key lever controlling tropospheric composition. This work collects, process and analyze large (multi-TB) high-resolution mass spectrometry datasets and performs atmospheric modeling to better quantify the impacts of air pollution on forest ecosystems, and vice versa.
- Quantifying urban air pollution emissions. This project applies high-resolution mass spectrometry measurements to measure and apportion air pollution measurements from New York City.
- Oceanic sources of reactive organic compounds to the atmosphere. This new project will combine satellite observations with new laboratory constraints to better quantify sea-air exchange of chemicals that are relevant for atmospheric chemistry.
- Environmental justice of air pollution. This employs atmospheric modeling to characterize the environmental injustice of air pollution exposure.
- Air quality forecasting. This new project develops new capabilities for global forecasting of air pollution.
- New airborne remote sensing of wildfire emissions. This project develops new airborne remote sensing tools for studying wildfire emissions to the atmosphere.
Research by this group was featured on the MSI website in:
- September 2020: Measuring Isoprene Levels for More Accurate Atmospheric Modeling
- October 2017: Nitrous Oxide Emissions Affected by Climate Change
- May 2017: Tracking Pollution Sources in Urban Water Systems
- September 2014: Air Pollution and Socioeconomic Status