UC San Diego undergraduate chemistry student Lee Elmont samples sea spray aerosols in Scripps Oceanography's Hydraulics Lab as part of the Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment summer research program. (Photo by Alex Matthews for NSF-CAICE.)
Funded by the National Science Foundation, CAICE studies how aerosol particles affect the environment, air quality, and climate. This summer project used seawater pumped up from Scripps Pier in a study of how chemical changes in the ocean affect the properties of sea spray aerosol particles in the atmosphere through the activity of phytoplankton and other microbes. These aerosol particles influence a number of atmospheric processes, especially the formation of clouds.
The center began in 2010 under the direction of Kim Prather, Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry and a faculty member at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC San Diego. This month the center received a $20 million grant from the NSF to fund the research for another five years.