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!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Trip to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

For two weeks in early January, graduate students Eric Boone (me) and Amy Bondy, accompanied by Professors Andrew Ault and Kerri Pratt, traveled to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory in Richland, WA. There we collaborated with Dr. Alex Laskin and Dr. Julia Laskin to examine aerosol, cloud water and rain water samples from the Southern Oxidants and Aerosol Study (SOAS), as well as cloud water from Whiteface Mountain in New York. The Pratt Lab utilized an Orbitrap mass spectrometer to get very detailed information about the chemical composition of the samples, also using a recently developed technique called nano-desorption electrospray ionization (nano-DESI).

We collected a huge amount of data and are very excited to begin looking through the results with the help of new lab undergraduates Wuliang and Zhuoyu! Thank you very much Dr. Alex Laskin and Dr. Julia Laskin for all of your help and for teaching us!
Arriving at the Guest House!
Eric Boone and Prof. Kerri Pratt working with Dr. Alex Laskin on the Orbitrap Mass Spectrometer

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Leaving Barrow

Before leaving Barrow, I (Prof. Kerri Pratt) stopped by the "Top of the World" sign for an obligatory photo op... :-)
Alaska Airlines has a sense of humor given their plane choice for my Barrow-Anchorage flight, especially since the plane was full of oil workers from Prudhoe Bay, its previous stop!
Good luck Kyle and Angela!  I enjoyed my visit and will miss our time out on the tundra!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Northern Lights!

On our drive out to the tundra lab this morning, we saw the northern lights!
Glow of the sun below the horizon and the tundra lab with green streaks above!
View toward the town of Barrow

Chemical ionization mass spectrometer inside the "lab" - really just a shed on the permafrost (with a great view!)
Caribou grazing by the lab
Flyover by a C-17(?) aircraft!
Gorgeous sunset at the lab

Kyle and Angela's experiments are going well now, so I will start my journey back to Ann Arbor, MI tomorrow night…I will be sad to leave!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Arctic Research

Beautiful sunrises and sunsets that last for hours!
Prof. Kerri Pratt digging a snow pit
Purdue University graduate students Angela Raso & Kyle Custard happy about their successful experiment!
"Cakeater Lab" out on the tundra

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Polar Sunrise!

The sun rose today in Barrow!  The residents of Barrow hadn’t seen the sun for over two months!  We saw it for less than one hour, but it was beautiful!
Saluting the sun!
Prof. Kerri Pratt
Here's where we sleep:

It's a hut in the former Naval Arctic Research Lab!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Barrow, Alaska!

I (Prof. Kerri Pratt) arrived Tuesday night to pitch dark skies in Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost point in the U.S.  Having spent two months here in “spring” 2012 for the NASA BRomine, Ozone, and Mercury EXperiment, I am excited to be back!  I am here to help Prof. Paul Shepson’s graduate students Kyle Custard and Angela Raso from Purdue University.  They are conducting experiments using their chemical ionization mass spectrometer to study unique halogen chemistry that only occurs in the atmosphere and snowpacks of the Polar Regions.  While I am here, I am also sampling atmospheric particles and snow for further analysis back at the University of Michigan.

While the sun was technically supposed to rise here for the first time in two months, it is cloudy with blowing snow.  Kyle and Angela have been here since the beginning of January and have yet to see the sun, even though it gets a little lighter for an hour or two in the middle of the afternoon.

Today I set up a microorifice uniform deposit impactor (MOUDI), borrowed from Prof. Andrew Ault’s group, to sample atmospheric particles for later chemical analysis.  Attaching the aerosol inlet into our “lab” on the tundra was quite a challenge in the blowing snow and cold!

Setting up the aerosol inlet in 30+ mph wind and blowing snow!
Prof. Kerri Pratt
Purdue graduate student Angela Raso's blog: http://snowkidding.blogspot.com/
Prof. Kerri Pratt's previous BROMEX blog: http://shepsonbromex.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Welcome Wuliang and Zhuoyu!

Welcome Wuliang Zhang and Zhuoyu Peng, new undergraduate students in the Pratt Lab!  Wuliang and Zhuoyu are junior chemistry majors and will be studying cloud water chemistry this semester.