Murphy Research Group

Aerosol particles cause dramatic sunsets (upper left), impact clouds and climate, and degrade air quality.  We study aerosol optical and chemical properties by deploying advanced instrumentation (upper right) in field projects (lower left), airborne campaigns (bottom right), and laboratory studies.



My group studies the optical and chemical properties of particulates (aerosol) in the atmosphere.  Current estimates are that scattering and absorption of solar radiation by aerosols, along with their impact on cloud albedo, causes radiative cooling of the earth that is roughly equal to the warming caused by greenhouse gases.  However, the uncertainty associated with the magnitude of the radiative impact of aerosols dwarfs that of greenhouse gases.  Aerosol particles are also a major source of air pollution and are responsible for poor visibility and the premature deaths of millions of people a year.

My group aims to refine scientific understanding of the impact of aerosols on local and global climate by measuring their optical properties with advanced in-situ instrumentation that we develop.  We development instruments, conduct ground-based and airborne field studies, perform advanced data analysis and statistics, and integrate our data with models and satellite measurements.  We also measure the chemistry of aerosol particles to determine their sources, impact, and to determine ways to reduce their mass loading and improve air quality. 

To find our more about current opportunities in the group click on the “Current Research Projects” link above.