College of Food, Ag & Nat Res Sci
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 of new satellite measurements of atmospheric isoprene, and global atmospheric modeling to interpret the data. Isoprene is the single most important non-methane volatile organic compound in the earth’s atmosphere, and shapes tropospheric composition through its impacts on ozone, aerosols, the atmosphere’s oxidizing capacity, and the nitrogen cycle.
- Closing the methane budget for the U.S. Corn Belt and Upper Midwest. The researchers are performing new aircraft measurements, new ground-based measurements, and atmospheric modeling and data analysis at MSI to advance scientific understanding and predictability of methane emissions from the U.S. Corn Belt and Upper Midwest. Methane is the second-most important human-caused greenhouse gas, and this region is critical to the methane budget as one of the most intensively managed landscapes in the world and a global hotspot for crop and animal agriculture. It also includes some of the most wetland-rich areas in the coterminous U.S., along with major urban and anthropogenic emissions.
- Using satellite data to quantify air pollution sources over India. India is the second most populous country in the world and is undergoing rapid industrialization, urbanization, and economic development. It is also a global hotspot for air pollution mortality, with >500,000 premature deaths each year. However, the region is among the most under-studied in the world in terms of atmospheric composition and air pollution. In situ measurements are sparse and insufficient to assess the air quality impacts of different sources and prioritize areas for improvement. The researchers are using satellite data to provide a new understanding of the sources of reactive organic chemicals to the atmosphere over India.
- Chemical transport modeling and data analysis for the NASA ATom field study. This project aims to better understand the chemical composition of the remote atmosphere based on new global aircraft observations combined with atmospheric modeling.
- The Flux Closure Study (FluCS), a newly-funded NSF study 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 will collect, process and analyze large (multi-TB) high-resolution mass spectrometry datasets and perform atmospheric modeling to better quantify the impacts of air pollution on forest ecosystems, and vice versa.
- Lake Michigan Ozone Study. Areas around Lake Michigan are subject to some of the most persistent ozone pollution issues in the country, with significant impacts on human health and ecosystems. The Millet lab was part of a multi-institution field study to improve understanding of the major causes and mitigation options for ozone pollution in this region. In the coming year they plan significant data reduction, processing, and model analysis activities at MSI related to this project.
- Biogenic volatile organic compounds and the changing arctic. Rapid Arctic warming, a lengthening growing season, and vegetation shifts are all anticipated to change natural emissions of reactive hydrocarbons into the arctic atmosphere, with important implications for atmospheric oxidation processes and feedbacks. This study combines field measurements with atmospheric modeling to better constrain these effects.
Research by this group was featured on the MSI website in:
- 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