I am a marine biogeochemist/aerosol physicist and a theme throughout my research career has been the interaction between the surface ocean and the atmosphere. More specifically, I am interested in the emission of matter from the oceans, in the form of sea spray aerosols, and how these aerosols can impact climate and transport pollutants.
In order to investigate the process of sea spray aerosol generation in the laboratory, we have designed and built a state-of-the-art sea spray simulation
chamber and used it to better parameterise the flux of sea spray aerosols to the atmosphere in large-scale models. We have also used our sea spray chamber to investigate the chemical composition of sea spray aerosols as a function of particle size.
In ongoing work we have turned our focus to understanding how life in the oceans may affect both the magnitude of sea spray aerosol emissions and the chemical composition of the particles. In particular, we are interested in whether particles, which are emitted from the leads which open-up in the Arctic during summer via bubble-bursting, are influencing clouds in the region. This aspect of our work will come into sharper focus during 2018 when we will participate in the Microbiology-Ocean-Cloud-Coupling in the High Arctic (MOCCHA) campaign in late summer aboard the icebreaker Oden in the high Arctic.
Another strand of ongoing work relates to the transport of persistent organic pollutants to the atmosphere via sea spray aerosols. In recent work, we have been using our sea spray chamber to investigate whether perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs), a class of anthropogenic surfactants which have been manufactured since the 1950’s may be efficiently transported by sea spray aerosols and how important this process might be to the life cycle and fate of these chemicals.