Category Archives: Research

Smoky summer ahead?

Last summer was a smoke-filled one in Washington State. Will this summer be similar? Well, the drought conditions in Washington State have led to forests and grasslands filled with wildfire fuel. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, now is the time to prepare for the possibility of a smoky summer. Dan Jaffe was interviewed by KUOW recently and advised residents to get prepared. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money to actually do a pretty good job of protecting your indoor air quality.” You can make a simple smoke filter for your home with a box fan and a furnace filter.

Listen and read the KUOW report

Learn how to make an air purifier for your home

 

Low-cost filtration method improves air quality during smoke events—see the new paper

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A new paper by group members Dr. Nate May, Clara Dixon, and Dr. Dan Jaffe evaluates the effectiveness of low-cost air filter units during wildfire smoke events. The increased wildland fire activity in the western US in recent years produces high concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which negatively affects the health of millions of people. During wildfire smoke events, staying indoors is often recommended. However, how good is indoor air quality during smoke events? The authors looked at PM2.5 measurements from the PurpleAir sensor network, a publicly available network of low-cost air quality sensors located indoors and outdoors. They also analyzed the effectiveness of residential filter units in reducing indoor PM2.5. One low-cost DIY filtration method consists of attaching a Minimum Efficiency Rating Value-13 (MERV-13) fan filter to a standard box fan. This method was found to be highly effective at reducing indoor PM2.5 when recirculating air in a single room.

Read the full paper in Aerosol and Air Quality Research

See the video on how to make your own air purifier at home

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.

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!