Qi Zhang
Qi Zhang

UC Davis professor earns grant to study how liquid aerosols impact climate

The Department of Energy awarded UC Davis Environmental Toxicology Professor Qi Zhang a nearly $560,000 grant to study secondary organic aerosols to further understand how pollution affects the atmosphere.

Zhang’s research over the course of three years will examine how organic aerosols formed through reactions in atmospheric liquid water, such as cloud droplets, affect global climate.

Aerosols formed through gas reactions are well-studied but less is known about the aqueous type, which can behave differently and carry unique features.

Zhang’s research will focus on analyzing field observations. “We know the atmosphere is an open system,” Zhang said. “Identifying fingerprints can help us interpret the field data.”

Zhang said her research will help fill in some gaps by using data and modeling to improve understanding of “how air pollution or atmospheric chemistry effects the earth’s climate.”

Her grant was one of 26 research projects funded through the Energy department’s Atmospheric Research program. In all, $15.6 million was awarded to help improve understanding of the earth’s systems, the agency said. 

Her proposal was selected among 85 projects.

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