Atmospheric Chemistry and Modeling Group

Aerosol Sources, Composition, Chemistry, and Impacts

Aerosol Sources, Composition, Chemistry, and Impacts


Aerosols (or particulate matter, PM) degrade visibility and air quality in both the developed and developing world. Exposure to particulate matter is the most significant environmental cause of premature mortality, responsible for over 4 million deaths per year. Atmospheric aerosols are also the leading source of uncertainty in global climate forcing. These particles have both natural (e.g. dust) and anthropogenic (e.g. vehicle emission) sources. Understanding the sources, transformations, properties, and intercontinental transport of aerosols in the troposphere is key to characaterizing their role in climate and air pollution.


Work in our group focuses on understanding the global lifecycle of aerosols in the atmosphere: What are their sources? How are they processed in the atmosphere? And what impact do they have? Recent projects include: investigating the effects of black carbon aging on radiative forcing and exploring the role of brown carbon; investigating the sources and impacts of bioaerosol; exploring the sources and sinks of organic aerosol and the total organic carbon budget; investigating the sources and trends of dust from North Africa; and investigating the role of ammonia in aerosol formation and air quality.