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Aerosols From Pollution and Wildfires: Sources, Characterization and Challenges

Event Type: 
Event Date: 
30 Oct 2017
EOS Seminar Room (N2-01b-28)
Yuk Ling Yung
About the speaker: 

Prof. Yuk Ling Yung received his bachelor degree in Engineering Physics from UC Berkeley in 1969, and Ph.D in Physics from Harvard University in 1979. After working as a research fellow and lecturer at Harvard University, he moved to California Institute of Technology in 1977 as a faculty member. Professor  Yung's  research  interest  consists  of  six  major  overlapping  areas: planetary  atmospheres,  planetary  evolution,  atmospheric  chemistry,  atmospheric  radiation, astrobiology  and  global  change,  with  strong  emphasis  on  the  synergy  between  modelling  and observations, and collaboration with colleagues at Caltech, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and other institutions.  An asteroid (19370) was named as Yukyung to acknowledge his contributions to the area of earth and planetary science.  He is currently involved in various spacecraft missions to investigate the earth and the solar system.

About the event: 

Particulate pollutants or aerosols and associated gases from fossil and biomass burning cause persistent environment problems worldwide. In particular throughout Asia, severe haze events caused by particulate pollution have become more intense and frequent in recent years, degrading air quality and ecosystem at large, threatening human health, and interrupting economic and societal activities. Aerosol, due to its interactions with radiation and clouds, plays an important role in the chemistry, physics, and dynamics of the atmosphere and can have a significant impact on the regional and global climate. As both economic development and urban expansion will continue to occur throughout this region, so will likely the extensive use of fossil and biofuels, and various biomass burning activities for agricultural or plantation purposes, particularly those ignite the peatland - the major sources of particulate matter and associated gases. Therein the problems of severe particulate pollution and the frequent occurrence of haze will likely continue to grow. I will present our recent researches about aerosol characterizations in the megacities Los Angeles and quantification of aerosol impacts on regional and global climate using multiscale models. Some key issues related to wildfire and biomass burning will be reviewed, including the gas emission estimation, characterizations of associated aerosols, and their impacts on air quality, regional climate and human health. The recent top-down approach using space-borne measurements to constrain gas and aerosol emissions will be discussed, along with a purview of the strengths and limitations of current satellite measurements.