Energy Research at the University of Washington

Becky Alexander

Energy Research Area: Our group studies how aerosol formation and the oxidative capacity of the atmosphere change in response to both climate change and anthropogenic activities.

Associate Professor
College of the Environment
Atmospheric Sciences

The Earth’s atmosphere is a highly oxidizing medium. The tropospheric abundance of oxidants such as the hydroxyl radical (OH) and ozone (O3) determines the lifetime, and thus the concentration, of most reduced trace gases important to climate (e.g. CH4) and human health (e.g. CO). In addition, atmospheric oxidant abundances can influence the formation pathway of aerosols with implications for their climate effects and for air pollution. Our research examines how tropospheric aerosol and oxidant chemistry varies over time and space. The time scales we consider range from seasonal to glacial-interglacial variability on the global scale. We aim to answer two fundamental questions in atmospheric chemistry:

  1. How do the formation pathways of sulfate and nitrate aerosols vary over space and time, and what are the implications for atmospheric chemistry and climate?
  2. How has the oxidation capacity of the atmosphere changed in response to both anthropogenic and climate forcing, and what are the implications for climate feedback processes via the impact on the concentration of reduced trace gases (e.g. CH4) that affect the distribution of energy in the climate system?

Campus and Other Collaborators/Partners

Record last updated on April 8th 2015 PDT.