Events

Friday, December 4, 2015 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm
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100F Pierce Hall, 29 Oxford St., Cambridge

Atmospheric Sciences Seminar

Sonia Kreidenweis, Colorado State University, will discuss “Biomass Burning as a Source of Cloud-Active Particles.”

Biomass burning represents a very large global source of atmospheric particulate matter. The composition of directly-emitted particulate matter is generally dominated by black carbon and organic aerosol species, but can contain a surprisingly diverse mix of inorganic compounds as well. As emitted plumes are diluted and aged, the resulting biomass burning aerosol particles that are available for long range transport are thus a mix of organic compounds and inorganic species such as black carbon, ammonium, nitrate, sulfate, potassium, and minerals. Unlike carbon-dominated particles from other combustion sources such as diesel engines, most biomass-burning-derived aerosol particles are efficient cloud condensation nuclei, due to both their inorganic ionic content and the high fraction of water-soluble organic carbon. We have also found that biomass burning smoke can sometimes represent a regionally-significant source of ice nucleating particles, and thus can potentially affect formation and properties of cold clouds. Since biomass burning emissions are usually injected at higher altitudes than industrial or traffic emissions, they are potentially more available to participate in cloud formation and to be removed by precipitation. In this talk I will present an overview of our series of laboratory and field studies of biomass burning particles, with a particular focus on their characteristics as cloud condensation nuclei and ice nuclei.

Hosted by Eloise Marais.

Contact Name: 

Eloise Marais

Research Areas: 

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

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