In my lab at Laurier, the atmospheric chemistry research program aims to address some of the gaps in fundamental knowledge in aerosol chemistry and emerging scientific questions pertaining to air quality. One of the active research areas in atmospheric chemistry is the formation and aging of secondary organic aerosols (SOA), especially brown carbon, which refers to light absorbing soluble and insoluble components. In particular, the role of transition metals such as iron in catalyzing the formation of soluble and insoluble brown carbon in the presence of organics is still unclear. The major source of iron in aerosols is mineral dust, which undergoes aging due to reactions with acidic gases and organics. In the first part of this talk, results will be presented on (a) new pathways for efficient brown carbon formation from aqueous phase iron-catalyzed reactions with aromatic and aliphatic dicarboxylic acid compounds, and (b) ice nucleation efficiency of fresh versus reacted dust particles. The significance of these results will be presented in relation to the chemical processing of iron-containing dust and how it changes dust optical and hygroscopic properties. The second part of my talk will be to highlight results from recent statistical analysis to ground level air quality data in Southern Ontario pre- and post-COVID lockdown. Our goal from this analysis was to quantify the statistical significance of pollutant level reductions due to lockdown measures in relation to seasonal variability. The last part of my talk will briefly outline a new academic-industry-government partnership project on the use of low cost air quality sensors to quantify emissions near elementary schools in Kitchener, Ontario.
- Hind A. Al-Abadleh
Wilfrid Laurier University