Our group uses and develops new analytical techniques to provide unique insights into unknown or poorly constrained environmental chemical processes. We focus on problems at the leading edge of environmental chemistry, including climate change, air quality, and long-range transport of contaminants.
Our interests in climate change involve understanding the chemistry of absorbing aerosols and long-lived greenhouse gases. The chemical composition and formation of aerosol brown carbon is a major uncertainty in our understanding of climate. We use and develop analytical techniques to measure and characterize brown carbon in real and simulated atmospheric samples to better understand this complex mixture. Although the warming from long-lived greenhouse gases is dominated by a few compounds, there are small levels of numerous long-lived compounds that are uncharacterized. We are developing new analytical techniques to characterize these unknown compounds.
Poor air quality continues to threaten human and environmental health despite improvements over the past few decades. In several areas, reactive chlorine species may contribute to this poor air quality, although it is poorly understood. Our group uses field measurements and models to better constrain the sources of reactive chlorine and the mechanisms that lead to poor air quality.
long-range transport of organic contaminants
Organic contaminants are widely used in our consumer products. These chemicals are found far from where they are used, but we do not understand how this long-range transport occurs. We are interested in the atmospheric transport of emerging contaminants, including perfluoroalkyl substances and flame retardants. Our work uses a multi-faceted approach to determine the physical and chemical properties, as well as mechanisms, that allow transport to occur. Studies combine field sampling (in diverse locations, including the High Arctic), laboratory experiments, and modelling.