Using IC to Examine Anions and Cations in Wintertime Fairbanks

SCIENCE

Photo of James

The Fairbanks North Star Borough has historically been one of the regions in the United States worst affected by air pollution. EPA air quality standards are rarely met. This is especially true for PM2.5 (particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter), for which Fairbanks is consistently ranked one of the worst in the nation by the American Lung Association. This heavy pollution is mainly due to the inversion layer caused by the extreme cold during the winter, which traps air pollution into the city. PM2.5 can come from primary and secondary sources, the latter of which is hard to pinpoint the source for. This winter, Dr. Jingqiu Mao, Ragen Davey and I plan to sample these aerosols in order to characterize their sources and the mechanisms of formation. The first step to improving air quality is to know what is causing the pollution and how; through this research we hope to provide some answers to these questions. We will do this by examining the anions and cations (negatively and positively charged particles, respectively) in ambient aerosols through the use of ion chromatography. This research will hopefully answer unknowns about air quality, which will expand the current knowledge surrounding atmospheric chemistry and lead to a healthier Fairbanks.  

Profile

Name: James Campbell, Undergraduate Student

Institution: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Major: Chemistry

Mentor: Jingqiu Mao, jmao2@alaska.edu

Award: Apprenticeship

Funding Period: 2019 to 2020