We measure atmospheric trace gases and aerosols that are relevant to air quality and climate and work to understand their chemical processing. Absorption spectroscopy permits us to detect compounds including Oxygenated Volatile Organic Compounds (OVOCs), such as glyoxal (CHOCHO) and formaldehyde (HCHO), halogen radicals like bromine monoxide (BrO) and iodine monoxide (IO), as well as NO2, SO2, nitrous acid (HONO) and water vapor. Observations of O4 (oxygen collision pair induced absorption) allow us to retrieve aerosols properties.
OVOCs and halogen radicals affect the oxidative, or “self-cleaning,” capacity of Earth’s atmosphere. Further reactions of these species can lead to significant effects on climate-active gases such as global ozone, methane, and DMS. OVOC processing in clouds and aerosols is a globally relevant source of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). Halogen radicals can promote mercury oxidation, resulting in higher rates of mercury deposition to ecosystems and the food chain.