MIT Department: Chemical Engineering
Undergraduate Institution: University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Campus
Faculty Mentor: Jesse Kroll
Research Supervisor: Rachel O’Brien, Josh Moss
Hola! My name is Natasha Marie Ramos Padilla from Puerto Rico. Currently, I am a Chemistry student from the University of Puerto Rico, MayagÃ¼ez campus. I would love to apply Chemistry through research to several areas like Environmental Sciences, Geology and Agricultural Sciences. In my free time, I love reading books, watching anime, playing games and touring around my island.
2017 Research Abstract
Quantifying wet deposition of atmospheric organic carbon in the United States
Natasha M. Ramos Padilla, Department Chemistry, Universityof Puerto Rico – Mayaguez
Rachel O’Brien, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jesse Kroll, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Organic compounds in the atmosphere are associated with many environmental processes including air pollution, atmosphere reactivity, cloud formation, and decreased visibility. Sources of organic carbon (OC) in the atmosphere vary between areas and seasons, and while these emissions are mostly biogenic (VOCs emitted by vegetation), they can also be anthropogenic (fossil fuel combustion and biomass burning). An important process by which OC is removed from the atmosphere is by wet deposition (scavenging by rain or snow). However, we currently lack detailed quantitative data regarding OC wet deposition, a necessary constraint for understanding the global lifecycle of atmospheric OC. In this project, we use total organic carbon (TOC) analysis to measure the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in rainwater samples collected around the United States in 2015 (as well as samples from 2010 and early 2017). Samples were collected by the national atmospheric deposition program (NADP) network, with specific sites chosen based on geographical and climatic diversity. DOC in rainwater during the summer months and at continental sites were higher, because of high biogenic emissions. By contrast, DOC from the winter months are substantially lower, due to the dormancy of vegetation. Likewise, DOC levels in the coastal areas are also low, likely due to lower OC sources over the oceans. This dataset will represent one of the most extensive characterizations of rainwater DOC taken to date, enabling refinement of models and the improved understanding of the fate and impacts of atmospheric organic carbon.