Air Quality Measurements in Newark

Atmospheric Chemistry

Description of Research

Much of Atmospheric Chemistry (AC) group research involves studying the physical and chemical properties of atmospheric aerosols as a way to address questions concerning the effects of aerosols on climate and ocean biogeochemical cycles. One major research area is atmospheric dust. As an aerosol, dust affects the Earth's radiation budget through direct and indirect effects, and the degrees of both effects are affected by dust properties. Dust is also a source of iron, a limiting micronutrient for phytoplankton growth in several large oceanic regions that affects oceanic carbon cycles and consequently climate. Subjects of AC group research in this direction include: long-range transport of Asian dust over the North Pacific, dust particles characterization through both field and laboratory experiments, and aeolian iron deposition to the global ocean using combined methods of field/satellite data assimilation and modeling.   


Another area of AC research is to study urban air pollution in the US East Coast. Urban air pollution has drawn increasing attention due to its impacts on air quality, coastal ecosystem and public health. Air pollutants, both primary and secondary, may exist in aerosol-, gas-, and precipitation- phases, functioning differently. The AC group characterize air pollutants in all three phases through ambient measurements, primarily based at Newark, the largest metropolitan center in New Jersey and adjacent to New York City. The AC group also study atmospheric nitrogen deposition and its implication for coastal eutrophication with field work based at Rutgers’s Tuckerton Marine Field station in southern New Jersey.


A new research direction has recently been developed in AC group, focusing on the properties of atmospheric substances including iron over the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.  The Southern Ocean, which surrounds Antarctica, plays an important role in regulating the global carbon cycle and climate. The AC group recently conducted shipboard experiments through the US-China international research collaboration, investigating aerosol properties and atmospheric Fe over the Southern Ocean and coastal Antarctica. 

Contributing NCAS Faculty

Yuan Gao
Yuan Gao