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Research

Field Studies

CHemistry in the Artic: Clouds, Halogens and Aerosols (CHACHA) Field Project

2020-2024 NSF grant

CHACHA is a collaborative project with researchers at Stonybrook University, University of Michigan, University of Alaska and Penn State. The goal is to improve understanding of atmospheric halogen chemistry in the gas, aerosol, and cloud water phases, and how that chemistry is impacted by Arctic sea ice loss and fossil fuel extraction. For this project, the University of Wyoming King Air will be deployed to the Arctic in spring of 2022. Clouds formed over sea ice leads will be a prime focus area, as a source of halogens to the Arctic boundary layer and as a pathway for chemical processing of aerosols and gases.
NSF CAREER awarded to Dr. Sara Lance

Aerosol-cloud-chemistry research at Whiteface Mountain

2020-2025 NSF CAREER grant

The primary research objective of the NSF CAREER grant awarded to Dr. Sara Lance is to test the hypothesis that chemical processing within boundary layer clouds contributes to secondary organic aerosol (SOA) mass. This research objective will be accomplished through a new measurement strategy at Whiteface Mountain (WFM), including chemical measurements of aerosols and cloud droplet residuals with a Particle-Into-Liquid Sampler (PILS) and a Ground-based Counterflow Virtual Impactor (GCVI). In conjunction with the bulk cloud water chemistry measurements, these new observations will enable a more complete real-time characterization of multiphase chemical processes occurring within clouds, especially in relation to the organic component, which dominates the aerosol and cloud water composition and has been increasing in both relative and absolute abundance.

Cloud Water Chemical Monitoring at Whiteface Mountain

2018-2022 NYSERDA grant

This project continues the long-term summertime cloud water composition measurements at Whiteface Mountain for five more years. These measurements have long been undertaken by the Adirondack Lake Survey Corporation (2001-2017), who continue to play an important role in the sample analysis. Under our direction, additional routine measurements targeting the organic constituents have now been added, since organic mass dominates cloud water composition in recent years.

Chemical Processing of Organics within Clouds (CPOC) Pilot Study

2017 NSF RAPID grant

The CPOC pilot study was conducted at Whiteface Mountain in August 2017. Aerosols were found to be comprised primarily of organic compounds (78% by mass on average, Zhang et al. 2019). Aerosol size distributions and interstitial aerosol measurements suggested that cloud processing played a significant role in the aerosol physical and chemical properties ( Lance et al. 2020). Lessons learned from the pilot study and strategies for more definitively identifying the influence of clouds on the aerosol composition are discussed in that paper.
Laboratory Studies

Fundamental investigation of heterogeneous aqueous chemistry

Single particle measurement techniques using a particle trap like an electrodynamic balance are being explored as a means to probe heterogeneous chemical processes under highly controlled conditions over extended time periods. One goal is to repeatedly cycle particles between subsaturated and supersaturated conditions to mimic the variable conditions particles are exposed to in the atmosphere, which are difficult to track and difficult to model.
Modeling Studies

Chemical Transport Modeling

We are collaborating with researchers in the U.S., Germany and France to better understand the transport of pollutants and the chemical evolution they undergo under different conditions in the atmosphere. We are undertaking these modeling activities as an important complement to the field and laboratory experiments listed above.

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