Climate in the Arctic is changing at a rapid pace. When vegetation reacts to these changes, chemicals called biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) can be released into the atmosphere. This project seeks to investigate how climate change affects the quantity and type of BVOCs released into the atmosphere and the chemical reactions these BVOCs undergo in the Arctic atmosphere. The investigators will accomplish their project goals through fieldwork on the North Slope of Alaska (NSA), collection and laboratory analysis of emission and atmospheric samples, and modeling of potential emissions and chemistry. For this project to have broad impacts, we will engage with students at Iḷisaġvik College (Alaska’s only tribal college), Baylor University and minority-serving University of California-Irvine and University of California-Riverside, local K-12 schools, and the broader scientific community.

This is an integrated field experiment and modeling project focused on quantifying biogenic emissions from tundra vegetation and subsequent organic aerosol production. The project activities include targeted field campaigns across the North Slope of Alaska, laboratory analysis, and modeling. Specifically, the project intends to (1) Measure the release of volatile organic compounds by vegetation (biogenic VOC) under different environmental conditions (2) Model summer chemistry of BVOCs and (3) Measure the concentrations of BVOCs and their secondary organic aerosol products during field campaigns on the North Slope of Alaska. This work will culminate in (4) building a predictive understanding of how vegetation type and seasonal and climate variations across the North Slope of Alaska controls BVOC emissions and subsequent aerosol formation. By quantifying the relationships among physical and biological drivers for current vegetation emissions, this project will significantly advance predictions of the impacts of changing climate and vegetation on future vegetation emissions and organic aerosol composition and concentrations. Finally, this research will have broader impacts through: (1) Engaging with students at Iḷisaġvik College; (2) Training students at Baylor and minority-serving University of California-Irvine and University of California-Riverside; (3) K-12 outreach in local schools at UCI; and (4) Promoting transdisciplinary discussion of the impacts of changes in Arctic vegetation emissions on the atmosphere with a scientific workshop.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Office of Polar Programs (OPP)
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Marc Stieglitz
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University of California Riverside
United States
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