My research interests are in climate modeling, aerosol-cloud-climate interactions, air quality, and environmental science and engineering. During my PhD in the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies at Carnegie Mellon (CAPS @ CMU), I focused on the effects of atmospheric aerosols on climate. Aerosols reflect incoming radiation and exert a cooling effect on climate, opposing the warming of greenhouse gases. Aerosol effects on climate, unlike greenhouse gases, are not well understood but are important for predictions of future climate change. Aerosols have likely “masked” additional warming from greenhouse gases, confounding the sensitivity of climate to greenhouse gases, which is an important parameter for climate models.  


Particulate pollution also has adverse human health effects. Hundreds of thousands of premature deaths per year can be attributed to air pollution.


My specific work has been broadly in the area of characterizing the sources of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). CCN are a subset of the aerosol population which act as surfaces for water vapor to condense and clouds to form. Some of my projects include:


  1. BulletEstimating the contribution of primary marine organic aerosol to CCN

  2. BulletEstimating the contribution of new particle formation and primary emissions to CCN

  3. BulletDeveloping a model for particle number source apportionment to directly attribute sources of CCN to specific processes (Size-resolved Aerosol Number Source Apportionment algorithm, or SANSA)

  4. BulletEvaluating and testing global aerosol and climate models for use in CCN predictions

  5. BulletModeling the impact of climate change on aerosol number concentrations and aerosol microphysical processes

 

Satellite images of the aerosol indirect effect on climate