Project Overview

Measurements of black carbon aerosol in fire plumes

Faculty Sponsor

Anne Perring (




Black carbon (BC) aerosol is an important climate forcer with additional implications for air quality and health. Globally, biomass burning generates nearly half of all BC emissions  yet the exact emission factors and BC particle properties are highly variable from fire to fire and are poorly constrained by measurements. A large airborne field project, FIREX-AQ, is planned for the summer of 2019 aboard the NASA DC8 aircraft. Research groups from around the country will contribute measurements of fire-relevant gas and aerosol species and the plane will systematically sample plumes from a wide variety of fires. The Perring lab will work collaboratively with a research group at NOAA in Boulder to measure BC aerosol in these plumes. The student researcher will be involved with instrument maintenance, preliminary data processing and in-flight operations of a single particle soot photometer (SP2) during the project. The data generated will play a critical role in a broad collaborative paper examining fire emission factors and the Colgate team will take the lead on a more technical paper concerning the performance of the SP2 in fire plumes.

Student Qualifications

Motivated students who have done well in chemistry coursework at any level will be considered. Prior experience programming in Matlab is desired but not required.

Number of Student Researchers

1 student

Project Length

8-10 weeks

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (