July 15, 2022
Sullivan and Gordon Receive DOE Award for New Atmospheric Research
By Sera Passerini
Faculty Affiliates Ryan Sullivan and Hamish Gordon have received a new atmospheric research award from the Department of Energy aimed at improving climate change predictions. Sullivan and Gordon’s research will incorporate their experimental findings and atmospheric models to better understand how wildfire emissions emit ice nucleating particles that potentially have significant effects on cloud microphysics, precipitation and climate.
"My group made two major findings regarding the sources of ice nucleating particles from our experiments on biomass-burning aerosol: the ice nucleants are mostly new mineral particles produced by the biomass fuel combustion itself, and these minerals can become even more effective ice nucleants through atmospheric chemical aging," said Sullivan. "This new award will allow us to incorporate these new experimental findings into Hamish Gordon’s atmospheric models so we can answer the bigger regional and global-scale questions of how wildfires in different regions – driven by climate change – might affect the properties of clouds and the Earth’s climate."
This award is a part of the Department of Energy’s $14 million funding for new atmospheric research awarded to 22 projects aimed at improving Earth system models that predict weather conditions and climate. The 22 funded projects focus on a variety of atmospheric science topics including the interactions between clouds and aerosols, processes that affect aerosols, cloud formation, growth and precipitation, and the surface energy budget of the Arctic and Antarctic.