Author Archives: dlommers

A new age of wildfires

wildire in Pacific Northwest

Credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington.

A new article on the University of Washington website looks at the growing severity of wildfires and the broad research that the university is doing on their impacts. The article highlights the work that we do on wildfires’ effects on air quality. Also featured is the Joel Thornton lab at UW Seattle and the work of other UW researchers who study wildfires and forests.

Faculty and students install instruments at Mt. Bachelor Observatory.

Claire Buysse and Dan Jaffe set up radiometers to measure UV light on the top of Mt. Bachelor Observatory, August 2019. Credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington.

In the summer of 2019, UW photographer Mark Stone visited Mt. Bachelor Observatory, as well as other research sites, and captured the UW’s research in stunning photographs.

Read the article.

Mt. Bachelor Observatory

Mt. Bachelor Observatory research site at the top of Mt. Bachelor, Bend, Oregon, August 2019. Credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington.

New post-doc Nate May joins group!

Nate_May_new_post-docWe are pleased to announce that Nate May has joined our group as a post-doctoral scholar! In his new position, Nate will be utilizing his atmospheric aerosol research experience to study indoor air quality, including the impacts of wildfire smoke events, and to contribute to the ongoing field studies at the Mount Bachelor Observatory. Nate is looking forward to “the opportunity to do field work at the Mount Bachelor Observatory and contribute to research on the increasingly important issue of air quality, and more generally returning to atmospheric research after teaching for the past two years.”

Nate received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a B.S. in Chemistry from Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California. His dissertation research focused on the production, transport, and chemical composition of atmospheric aerosols generated from wave breaking in the Arctic Ocean and the Great Lakes.

Originally from Poulsbo, Washington, Nate is a Pacific NW native and enjoys supporting the Seattle Sounders. In his free time, he can also be found hiking, biking, kayaking, baking, cooking, and spending time with his partner, Gloria, and puppy, Juniper.

We look forward to welcoming Nate in person in the not-too-distant future and hope to sample some of his culinary treats. Welcome, Nate! We are so glad to have you as part of our research team.

The “smoke apocalypse” and indoor air quality: Media reports with Dan Jaffe

In September, Seattle and the Puget Sound region recorded the worst air quality ever. For example, in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle it was 314 on the air quality index on September 17. During our area’s recent smoke apocalypse, Dr. Dan Jaffe has been a frequent media guest. He has been interviewed by the Seattle Times, Crosscut, KIRO7, KOMONews, KOMOAM, KING5, and Q13Fox. Dan discussed his work on indoor air quality during the wildfire season and showed how to make a very effective DIY air purifier using a box fan and a MERV 13 furnace filter.

See links to all of the articles and videos along with descriptions

Welcome, Matt Ninneman, new post-doc!

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our research is continuing. And now our work will be strengthened by the addition of post-doctoral scholar Matt Ninneman!

Matt comes to us from the State University of New York at Albany (NY), where he received his PhD in Atmospheric Science. His dissertation was titled “Ozone and reactive oxidized nitrogen chemistry in the northeast U.S.” Matt’s research experience in ozone photochemistry and air quality and box modeling will be a valuable addition to our research. In his position at UW Bothell, Matt will be studying the effect of wildfire smoke on ozone production in urban areas using the Framework for 0-D Atmospheric Modeling (F0AM) box model and assisting with research at Mount Bachelor Observatory.

Matt is originally from Charlotte, NC, and received his BS in meteorology from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He is new to the West Coast and looks forward to exploring the many bike trails in the Seattle/Bothell area. His other hobbies include running, playing basketball, reading, and closely following the Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves in baseball and the Charlotte Hornets in basketball.

Even though we are unable to welcome Matt in person, we are delighted to have him join our group and look forward to future non-Zoom get-togethers. Welcome, Matt!

How effective is your face mask?*

*Fit means more than fabric.

Have you wondered how effective your cloth mask is in protecting you from the COVID-19 corona virus?  We wondered that too, and this led to our newest research project—studying the effectiveness of cloth face masks. Shahbaz Qureshi, a 2020 UWB Biochemistry graduate, and Praphulla Boggarapu Chandra, postdoctoral researcher, have been working with Dr. Dan Jaffe on testing mask effectiveness. Their research was featured on KIRO 7 news, where Dan Jaffe was interviewed by reporter Jessica Oh.

Shahbaz Qureshi doing mask research

Shahbaz Qureshi adjusts a cloth mask on a mannequin head in an experiment testing the mask’s effectiveness. Photo credit: Marc Studer.

The preliminary research results show that for filtration, fit is more important than the mask material: Tight-fitting masks were twice as efficient in stopping aerosol particles as looser masks. “All masks reduce the particulate—the aerosols you’re putting out in the world and the aerosols you’re breathing in—both ways to some degree,” Jaffe said. “If you wear it properly and you have a tight-fitting mask, it reduces it a lot more.” Dr. Jaffe also plans to present the mask problem to his Quantitative Environmental Analysis class in the upcoming Autumn quarter. “Students will for themselves see: How good is my mask, and how important is the fit?”

Watch the KIRO7 news video on the mask research

Read more about the mask research on the UW Bothell News page