Untitled Page

December 2, 2005

"Does Fundamental Chemistry Matter for Understanding the Atmosphere?"


Barbara J. Finlayson-Pitts
Department of Chemistry
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA  92697-2025



The field of atmospheric chemistry has three major components:  (1) field studies; (2) laboratory studies; and (3) computer kinetics modeling.   The integration of these three approaches is necessary for developing a complete understanding of atmospheric processes, including the formation of smog and global climate change.  Our research focuses on laboratory studies, but also draws on collaborations involving field studies and modeling to assess which previously undiscovered reactions might be important in air.  A particularly interesting example is the reactions of sea salt particles, which have the potential to impact ozone levels in the lower atmosphere in both polluted and remote regions.1  This seminar will describe laboratory,1,2 field3,4 and modeling studies5 of sea salt reactions, and demonstrate in particular, why understanding the chemistry on a molecular level is so important for developing cost-effective control strategies for air pollutants, including climate-altering gases and particles.




1             B. J. Finlayson-Pitts, Chem Rev., 2003, 103, 4801.

2             B. J. Finlayson-Pitts and J. C. Hemminger, J. Phys. Chem. A, 2000, 104, 11463.

3             C. W. Spicer, E. G. Chapman, B. J. Finlayson-Pitts, R. A. Plastridge, J. M. Hubbe, J. D. Fast and C. M. Berkowitz, Nature, 1998, 394, 353.

4             K. L. Foster, R. L. Plastridge, J. W. Bottenheim, P. B. Shepson, B. J. Finlayson-Pitts and C. W. Spicer, Science, 2002, 291, 471.

5             E. M. Knipping and D. Dabdub, Environ. Sci. Technol., 2003, 37, 275.