Research Faloona’s Biogeochemical Meteorology Group

Research Area: Biogeochemistry of the California Current Upwelling System Research Area: Planetary Boundary Layer Dynamics Research Area: Atmospheric Photo-oxidation

The past few decades have seen air pollution chemistry and climate science develop mutual valency by growing together in scales. Air quality issues gradually expanded from local to regional to international domains, while climate variations were explored on increasing resolutions of space and time.  At the heart of air pollution chemistry is the oxidation potential that governs our atmosphere, most saliently embodied by O3 and OH. Not only do anthropogenic emissions (of NOx, CO, CH4, etc.) influence oxidation and air quality regionally, but natural, biogenic emissions (of hydrocarbons like isoprene, DMS, methanol) provide the fuel for the photochemical oxidation. Together these emissions impact the oxidative power of the atmosphere, which in turn influences the lifetime and abundance of greenhouse gases and aerosols, which interact with the Earth’s radiative environment altering the climate. But most of these reactants are emitted (or absorbed) at the surface and brought together, or kept apart, by the disposition of atmospheric boundary layer mixing.

Therefore the Biogeochemistry at or near the surface is central to biogenic emissions (or possibly uptake), the Boundary Layer Dynamics ferry them to or from the surface as well as mix them together, and the Photochemistry dictates their atmospheric lifetimes and the ultimate impact on the climate. Thus our group strives to investigate all components of this system using a holistic, observational approach.