δ13C and δ18O Isotope Ratio Measurements of Abundant Oxygenates in the Atmosphere

Project Overview
Project Abstract: 
My PhD research will be a joint collaboration between three research groups with expertise in analytical atmospheric chemistry (Alex Guenther at the National Center for Atmospheric Research), high precision atmospheric isotope ratio measurements (John Mak at the State University of New York, thesis advisor), and plant physiology and biochemistry (Manuel Lerdau also at SUNY). I plan to finish my PhD in three years and already have selected my dissertation topic: “δ13C and δ18O isotope ratio measurements of abundant oxygenates in the atmosphere: Atmospheric source apportionment, factors affecting emissions, and biosynthesis/metabolism”. The major goal is to answer some fundamental air quality questions related to the presence of oxygenated VOCs in the troposphere. In particular, I want to develop a method for determining the relative contribution of various sources of oxygenated VOC emissions to tropospheric concentrations. To accomplish this, I will develop and deploy an analytical system capable of collecting ambient air for online δ13C and δ18O measurements from specific oxygenated VOC’s in the atmosphere including acetone, methanol, acetaldehyde, and 2-methyl-3-buten-2-ol (MBO) in order to better constrain the budget and chemistry of these compounds. My dissertation has four elements: 1) Measure the δ13C and δ18O signatures from anthropogenic, biogenic, and secondary photochemical sources as well as the major atmospheric loss processes. 2) Measure the δ13C and δ18O isotope ratios of these compounds in ambient air at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS). 3) Use an isotope mass balance approach to constrain the budget and chemistry of these compounds and compare the results with previous estimates. 4) Collaborate with chemical modelers in synthesizing these results into a chemical transport/transformation model to understand how anthropogenic and biogenic fluxes of oxygenates are affecting ozone, aerosol and particulate dynamics.
Investigator Info
Investigators: 
Funding agency: 
NSF-IGERT
Years research project active: 
2004 to 2005