In the Sheesley lab, we are interested in understanding local to global impacts of atmospheric particulate matter. Our work on air quality spans several continents, with studies in the Upper Midwest, Southern California, Scandinavia, South Asia and now the North American Arctic. Carbonaceous aerosols in the atmosphere are a continually changing complex mixture that interacts with the biosphere, impacts climate change and can have negative effects on human health. In order to understand the impacts of carbonaceous aerosols, the chemical composition needs to be investigated; to effectively mitigate the impact, sources of the aerosols need to be defined. This thesis has been the basis of the Sheesley lab’s aerosol studies. We have focused our efforts on refining methods for the analysis of organic tracers, the application of source apportionment models and characterization of sources and transport using carbon isotopes. The Sheesley Lab is also interested in using these methods to assess the global impacts of primary and secondary carbonaceous aerosols on climate change and human health. The integration of organic tracer and isotope analysis into larger biosphere and human health impact research projects provides distinct advantages for statistical analysis and a source-oriented perspective.
Recent press: https://ensia.com/features/black-carbon/