Welcome to the Pratt Lab blog! Dr. Kerri Pratt is an assistant professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Earth & Environmental Sciences and faculty associate of the Program in the Environment at the University of Michigan. We study the chemical interactions of atmospheric trace gases, particles, clouds, and snow, with a focus on the Polar Regions and wintertime environments. Our interdisciplinary research has relevance to climate change, air quality, and human health. As an analytical chemistry lab, we primarily apply novel mass spectrometry techniques to our field research. We invite you to follow our adventures in (and outside!) the lab!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Rachel at the North Pole!

Pratt Lab PhD student Rachel Kirpes reached the North Pole on the Swedish Icebreaker Oden! Let's learn about connections between sea ice, microbiology, aerosols, and clouds! #arcticocean2018

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Photo by Lars Lehnert

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Friday, August 3, 2018

Hello from the Arctic!


I departed the U.S. on July 8 at the start of an adventure that has taken me through Sweden, on a ship north to Svalbard, and then continuing north, north, further north…

The majority of this time will be spent aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden, as part of a joint scientific venture between the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat (SPRS) to support the Arctic Ocean 2018 campaign. Most of the scientific work onboard is being conducted under the umbrella of the MOCCHA campaign (Microbiology – Ocean – Cloud Coupling in the High Arctic). Research groups from the U.S., Sweden, and across Europe are all studying different aspects of the complex Arctic climate, including air-sea exchange, aerosol physics and chemistry, bubble physics, sea ice biology, seawater chemistry, meteorology, and much more. It is an exciting, unique opportunity to collaborate with many great scientists in order to better understand the Arctic.

Most of the science team gathered in Helsingborg, Sweden in early July to meet Oden in port for “mobilization”. This was a wild, busy four days of unpacking, organizing, and setting up equipment on the ship to prepare for the expedition. I was lucky enough to then have a week to travel in Sweden and Denmark before returning to the ship in Helsingborg on July 20 for the “transit” to Svalbard. Only a few scientists for this early “preview” of the expedition, allowing us 10 extra days to continue setting up our instrumentation. This included many long days of troubleshooting, machining, cleaning, and rebuilding parts of the sampling set up. But with everyone’s help, it all came together in the end.

The official start of the expedition (or research “cruise” as we like to call it) began in Longyearbyen, Svalbard on Aug 1. There, the rest of the scientists joined the ship, and we were ready to sail north. All together, on the ship we total 23 crew members, 9 SPRS staff, and 41 scientists.

The goal is to travel north into the Arctic Ocean pack ice (aiming for somewhere ~87 – 89 deg N), in order to find a large ice floe to anchor Oden and set up an ice station for scientific measurements. Stay tuned as we continue north and into the ice!

- Rachel Kirpes, Pratt Lab PhD student on the Oden!

Enjoyed some wonderful sunsets during mobilization while working on the 7th deck (highest part of the ship)
Hit some big waves during the transit!
Enjoyed beautiful weather for most of the transit from Svalbard to Longyearbyen


Monday, July 30, 2018

Icebreaker Oden & Rachel arrive in Longyearbyen!

Pratt Lab PhD student Rachel Kirpes arrives in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway on the Swedish icebreaker Oden after the open ocean cruise from Helsingborg, Sweden!

@rmkirp: Caught a pic of Oden, my home for the next two months for #ArcticOcean2018 while enjoying a day on land in Longyearbyen before heading (further) north.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Friday, July 13, 2018

Icebreaker Oden safety training in the Helsingborg News!

Pratt Lab PhD student Rachel Kirpes is currently in Helsingborg, Sweden on the Swedish Icebreaker Oden preparing instrumentation for the Arctic Ocean 2018 cruise! As part of this, she participated in survival training that involved jumping in the ocean in full safety gear.

Helsingborg News Article:


Rachel ready to jump off the icebreaker!
Icebreaker fire hose training!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Summer Group Photo!

Back row: Stephen McNamara, Dr. Peter Peterson, Rachel Kirpes, Jeff Spencer, Dr. Qianjie Chen
Front row: Prof. Kerri Pratt, REU student Savannah Haas, Jamy Lee, Kathryn Kulju, Dr. Jun Liu
Missing: DRISE student Jasmine Mumpfield, undergrad Claire Mattson