Scientists in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD have won a grant to study prevailing mysteries about how chemistry influences climate and atmospheric processes.
The $1.5 million National Science Foundation award will enable them to create the Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment (CAICE)
The center’s principal investigator is Kim Prather, an atmospheric chemistry professor who holds appointments in the UCSD Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as well as at Scripps Oceanography.
To overcome hurdles to observation, the award, which in later phases could direct as much as $40 million toward the center, will support the modification of an existing wave tank on the Scripps campus to create CAICE’s research centerpiece, a closed chamber that can simulate ocean-atmosphere interactions. Researchers will add various atmosphere-changing ingredients — from carbon dioxide to phytoplankton to varying levels of light — to measure the effects of different variables.
CAICE will also feature an educational component that will be integrated into science education programs at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Prather said a key focus of the center will be to reinvigorate K-12 science education through environmental measurements.
National Instruments, Horiba, TSI, Inc. and Nanocomposix are the initial industrial partners of CAICE and will provide state-of-the-art measurement tools.