Particles in the atmosphere play an important role in climate and hydrology, civilian health, and transport of nutrient to natural ecosystems.
Atmospheric particles can influence the energy balance of the planet through direct interaction with solar radiation, or by acting as seeds for cloud-droplet formation; our understanding of aerosol burdens and processes represents the largest source of uncertainty in the atmospheric system for predicting cooling and climate feedback effects. Furthermore, mass concentrations of fine particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter have been associated with excess mortality, and are regulated for these health concerns.
Aerosols and their precursors can be emitted from a variety of anthropogenic and biogenic sources, and undergo chemical and physical transformations in the atmosphere. Improving our understanding of particle impacts on health and climate for present and future periods relies on a combination of modeling and measurement of aerosol emission or formation, transformation, and transport; taking into account interactions between the condensed and vapor phases. The work in this laboratory focuses on addressing these issues through the integration of various analytical and computational techniques.