Category Archives: Earth Science

Why I Do What I Do: Atmospheric Chemistry


So I had an entirely different plan for a blog post this week. But after everything that has happened with the US elections, I really can’t offer much useful advice right now on stuff related to academia. So, sorry for that. I feel bad, especially after missing last week…If it’s any consolation, I will say that I have quite a few drafts right now on topics ranging from burn out to lit reviews to how to take tests, so look forward to that? Also, if you have anything you want me to talk about, let me know and I’ll do my best!

Anyway, one of the many things that this election means is the possibility of cuts on science funding—especially to the important agencies that support, fund and research topics in climate science. If you’ve happened to ventured onto my research tab or professional website, you’d find that my graduate research is in the field of atmospheric chemistry which happens to indirectly deal with the current and future effects of climate change. So, among all the other ways that this election has/will affect me (as a minority woman born from a family of immigrants), it’s just the cherry on top to find out that our president-to-be is already working on “restructuring” climate policies (read: getting rid of them completely… *sigh* Can we…just have a moment of silence…).

Continue reading Why I Do What I Do: Atmospheric Chemistry


Plants and Their Role in the Atmosphere

I finally did it! Here is another science post discussing the role of plant emissions (specifically isoprene) have on our air quality and climate. Admittedly, this is a very brief summary, as isoprene chemistry is currently a hot research topic and there were simply too many avenues to discuss on a simple introductory post. However, I still hope you enjoy this intermission post as I prepare to head off to Michigan for my research trip. Again, my presence on the interwebs, especially this week, will be kind of spotty. Nevertheless, if you have any related questions, I will be very happy to answer them once I have internet! Enjoy!

biopact_isoprene_photosynthesisTypically, when the atmosphere is mentioned, it’s usually in the context of air quality and/or climate change. The former tends to focus on the emissions and subsequent transformations of air pollution that may be hazardous to human health. The latter, on the other hand, focuses on how greenhouse gases and atmospheric aerosols affect the radiative forcing of our planet. However, regardless of which one is being referring to, both are influenced by a complex interplay of an assortment of reactive compounds found within our atmosphere. Continue reading Plants and Their Role in the Atmosphere

Ammonia Pollution: Validation of Space-Based Emission Profiles

This week, I present to you a “News and Views” type science article that I had to write for a class last quarter! Depending on the popularity of this post (as well as my own time constraints) I would like to start writing more of these types of blog posts, particularly for areas more closely related to my specific research goals. Let me know if this is something you’re interested in!

Nitrogen is an essential nutrient that plants need to grow, but in the environment it mostly takes the form of unreactive N2 gas. It is only through the invention of the Haber-Bosch processes that N2 can be transformed into large quantities of reactive nitrogen species that can be utilized to increase crop production to levels that can sustain our world’s population. Of these manufactured forms of nitrogen, ammonia (NH3) dominates, accounting for 55% of man-made emissions with its main source being agricultural operations1. Due to our need to increase food production, ammonia emissions have more than doubled since preindustrial times and are predicted to continue increasing in the future2. Continue reading Ammonia Pollution: Validation of Space-Based Emission Profiles