Pratt Lab :: Environmental and Analytical Chemistry

Barrow, Alaska 2015

From August - September 2015, the Pratt Lab conducted a field campaign in Barrow, Alaska to investigate composition of atmospheric aerosols in the Arctic in the summertime. In particular, our goal was to examine particles resulting from oil and gas extraction activities near the North Slope of Alaska with focus on the offshore drilling and ship emissions. With climate change already showing noticeable impacts in the Arctic, it is paramount to understand the increasing local emissions impacting this region. From July – September 2015, offshore drilling off was completed off the coast of northern Alaska.
This was the first deployment of our custom-built aircraft aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer (A-ATOFMS). Using the A-ATOFMS, scanning mobility particle sizer, and aerodynamic particle sizer, we collected real-time data on the size and chemical composition of the atmospheric particles influencing the area. Together these data will allow determination of the concentrations of particles from specific sources. This collaborative study included the research group of Dr. Rebecca Sheesley (Baylor University), and was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as the Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Management (ARM) Program.


NOAA, 2014 – 2017, “Assessment of Atmospheric Aerosols Resulting from Oil and Gas Extraction Activities near the North Slope of Alaska”.
DOE ARM, 2015-2016, “Summertime Aerosol Across North Slope of Alaska Field Campaign”.

Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) Field Study, Summer 2014

Photo credit: Gillian Rooker

In July 2014, former Pratt lab member Jennifer Berry traveled to the southern Alaska panhandle to collect snow and ice samples from various glacier sites on the Juneau Icefield, one of the largest icefields in the Western Hemisphere and home to several massive glaciers. The purpose of this study is to determine the concentration of light-absorbing particles, such as black carbon or soot, in snow samples following filter collection and analysis with an integrating sphere-integrating sandwich (ISSW) spectrophotometer. Using this information, we can determine the impact of soot and other light-absorbing particles on the snowpack’s albedo, or ability to reflect solar radiation. Significant light-absorbing particle contamination on the snow surface may lower its albedo, increasing absorbance of solar radiation and causing heating, leading to the melting of the world’s icefields and glaciers.

JIRP blog


2014 Michigan Space Grant Consortium Undergraduate Research Fellowship
2014 University of Michigan Arctic Internship
2014 University of Michigan Department of Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Program Fellowship
2014 University of Michigan Program in the Environment Individual Academic Enrichment Funding
Lead PI: Kerri Pratt, Collaborator: Dr. Chelsea Thompson, University of Colorado, Boulder

UMBS Summer 2014

With importance to both climate change and air quality, the summer 2014 field study will augment the Program for Research on Oxidants: Photochemistry, Emissions, and Transport (PROPHET) at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS). PROPHET is well-suited for studies of forest-atmosphere interactions and the influence of transported urban pollution on remote locations. This project will add measurements of greenhouse gases and atmospheric particles to characterize the remote forest ecosystem in northern Michigan. This collaborative study, funded by the University of Michigan MCubed Program, will include the research groups of Prof. Kerri Pratt, Prof. Andrew Ault, and Prof. Eric Kort, as well as external collaboration with researchers from Washington State University. The Pratt lab will conduct real-time measurements of the size and chemistry of individual atmospheric particles will be conducted using a single-particle mass spectrometer.


University of Michigan MCubed grant, 2013-2014, “Climate and Air Quality Impacts of Greenhouse Gases and Atmospheric Particles in Northern Michigan.”
Lead PI: Kerri Pratt, co-Is: Eric Kort, Andrew Ault

2013 Southern Oxidant and Aerosol Study (SOAS)

The ground-based portion of SOAS alone involves over 50 institutions in 4 countries with funding primarily from EPA and NSF. As part of this highly collaborative project, Dr. Pratt is responsible for supervision of students conducting chemical ionization mass spectrometry measurements of isoprene nitrates, one-dimensional modeling of biogenic organic nitrates, ground-based aerosol filter sampling, and aircraft-based sampling and chemical analysis of aerosols and cloudwater.


EPA STAR grant, 2013-2015, "Role of Oxidation of Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds in Secondary Organic Aerosol Production in Southeastern U.S.", lead PI: Steve Bertman (Western Michigan Univ.); co-PIs: Kerri Pratt (Univ. of Michigan), Paul Shepson (Purdue Univ.), John Seeley (Oakland Univ.), Tim Starn (West Chester Univ. of PA)

Pratt Lab :: Environmental and Analytical Chemistry