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Mission

The Aerosol Chemistry & Microphysics Group is focused on improving process-level understanding of aerosol formation and evolution mechanisms, aerosol absorption, and the direct and indirect influences that aerosols have on clouds, precipitation and climate. Understanding the physics, chemistry and dynamics of interactions along this aerosol-cloud-precipitation continuum is crucial for development of a predictive understanding of the climate system.

Research Goals

We strive to advance process level understanding of aerosols through laboratory studies, modeling and theoretical investigations, and field measurements. To this end we lead in the development of new tools for aerosol measurement, in laboratory and field, and novel approaches to aerosol simulation. Our immediate goal is to close gaps in our understanding of aerosol lifecycle and to incorporate the new knowledge into models in a way that promotes computation efficiency and reduction of model uncertainty. Our longer-ranged goal is to improve scientific understanding and quantification of aerosol effects important to regional and global climate.

Approach

  • Laboratory development and field deployment of a size-resolved condensation particle counter battery to infer the composition of freshly formed atmospheric nuclei down to 1 nanometer.
  • Field and laboratory studies of sub-3 nanometer particle formation.
  • Flux analysis to study the enhanced growth of atmospheric nanoparticles by organic vapor.
  • Development of “particle-based” methods for aerosol dynamics simulation and uncertainty quantification based on the Quadrature Method of Moments (QMOM).
  • Single Particle Soot Photometer (SP2) measurements of biomass burning and black carbon aerosols and interpretation.
  • Measurements of the Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) potential of ambient aerosols and their interpretation.
  • Process research to quantify aerosol effects on cloud microphysics and their separation from dynamical effects (updraft, turbulence, entrainment mixing).
  • Scientific support for field observations.
diagram of atmospheric life cycle