NASA funds Martin, Chakrabarty, for atmospheric data research

The two each received a portion of the $19.5 million earmarked for analysis, modeling

Brandie Jefferson 
Chakrabarty (left), Martin
Chakrabarty (left), Martin

NASA has selected proposals from two researchers from the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis for funding as part of its Atmospheric Composition Campaign Data Analysis and Modeling (ACCDAM) program. 

Randall Martin, the Raymond R. Tucker Distinguished Professor and Rajan Chakrabarty, associate professor, both in the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering, have each been awarded more than a half-million dollars for atmospheric data research.

The program supports analysis and modeling of NASA-supported airborne data. The call for proposals yielded 91 submissions. Thirty-one were selected to receive part of the approximately $19.5 million over three years.

Fine particulate matter, known as PM 2.5, is a leading cause of environment-related diseases across the world. It has many sources, natural and man-made, and for several reasons, it has been changing over the past decade.

ACCDAM has awarded Martin $573,628 over three years to improve certain aspects of atmospheric data collection and monitoring.

To do this, Martin will use data from NASA aircraft, ground-based, and satellite measurements to evaluate and improve models which tell us more about the relationship between different atmospheric chemicals as well as to improve estimates of surface-level pollution.

Broadly, the research addresses questions about the ways in which atmospheric composition is changing, and how global composition affects regional air quality.  

Brown carbon is a class of organic carbon aerosol which, unlike black carbon, strongly absorbs incoming solar radiation in the shorter wavelengths, or near ultraviolet, making it a potent agent of atmospheric warming.

ACCDAM awarded Chakrabarty a three-year, $574,124 grant for improving satellite retrieval algorithms to better characterize brown carbon aerosol from wildfires in the US.  

Brown carbon is recently recognized as an important short-lived climate forcer and also plays a significant role in atmospheric chemistry, particularly in the upper atmosphere. 

As part of this research, Chakrabarty and his team will be utilizing observational data collected during FIREX-AQ field study and developing a database for quantifying aerosol absorption by NASA’s Ozone Monitoring (OMI) from measured radiances.

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