CAICE: Bringing the real world into the laboratory

The Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment is a National Science Foundation Center for Chemical Innovation based at the University of California, San Diego.  Led by Professor Prather, the center brings together research groups from around the country with the goal of elucidating the chemical complexity and reactivity of atmospheric aerosols.  Interdisciplinary teams consisting of chemists, as well as marine biologists, physical oceanographers, and atmospheric scientists, provide insights and new perspectives into how aerosols form and subsequently react.

The mission of CAICE is to better understand how aerosol particles impact the environment, air quality, and climate through fundamental chemical studies of their heterogeneity, morphology, and composition at the single particle level.  Current research efforts are focused on the properties of sea spray aerosols, which have tremendous chemical variability depending on ocean chemistry, biology, waves, and wind.  A more detailed description of the Prather group's experimental work can be found here.

In order to better probe the chemical complexity of sea spray aerosols, CAICE has brought the real world into the laboratory in a unique ocean-atmosphere facility located at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  The centerpiece of this facility is a 33m linear wave channel which mimics breaking waves in the ocean and allows for the production of realistic sea spray aerosols in a controlled laboratory setting. For more information about CAICE research, including a full list of collaborators and publications, please visit our website.