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!

Friday, September 23, 2016

End of Prudhoe Bay Field Campaign!

After five weeks in the Arctic, our field campaign came to a close this week! After the end of sampling, the next major task was to pack up all of our equipment to send back to Michigan. It's a long journey home, so it is important to make sure everything is secure!
Luckily the crate we designed had a ramp attached, so it was easy to just roll the instrument back in through the door of the AMF3.  

The A-ATOFMS and the rest of the equipment all packed in the hangar waiting for pickup.
It's an ~2 hour drive from the AMF3 back to Deadhorse on pretty rough roads, so we had to get a truck to pick up the equipment at the site instead of loading it into the back of our trucks. 
Lifting the A-ATOFMS into the truck. I always get nervous when the instrument isn't on the ground, but thankfully we had the help of the wonderful AMF3 techs during this process and it went very smooth. Thanks guys!
With the equipment all packed up and headed back to Ann Arbor, we made sure to take some time and get a few tourist pictures at all of the landmarks we could find.
Sign marking the end of the Dalton Highway in Deadhorse, AK.
That's all for this study! A big thanks to all of the help we received from the DOE AMF3 techs and Sandia National Labs throughout this study - we wouldn't have been able to complete it without you all!

Bonus picture: One last sunset over the oil fields.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Welcome Maria and Emily!

Welcome Maria Morales and Emily Mordan! Maria is a new Chemistry master's student from Guayaquil, Ecuador with a scholarship from the Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation of the Republic of Ecuador. Maria will be completing her Master's research thesis in the Pratt Lab! Emily is a new Chemistry PhD student who recently graduated from North Park University in Chicago, Illinois and is completing a fall research rotation in the Pratt Lab.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Chemistry of lake spray aerosol paper published!

Congratulations to graduate student Nate May! Nate is the second author of this paper titled "Lake spray aerosol: A chemical signature from individual ambient particles" published in Environmental Science & Technology. Nate led the 2014 field study on the shore of Lake Michigan and subsequent laboratory aerosol generation work for this project. Check out the paper!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Life in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

Only two weeks left to go in Prudhoe Bay! The study has been going well so far, so I figured it would be a good time to show off how I've been living for the past few weeks. DOE ARM was kind enough to find us lodging at the Nikaitchuq Operations Center run by Eni Petroleum, where everyone has been very welcoming!

View of the camp entrance, located only a few miles from the Arctic Ocean!
The camp was built in 2015 after the previous one burnt down (thankfully no one was injured), so everything is very new!
They saved the sign from the original camp, which now hangs over the cafeteria (you can still see some of the charred wood on the right).
 We each get our own rooms, which comes complete with a bathroom, sink, dressers, and a TV. 
It's a bit cozy, but I lived with three guys in a smaller room during undergrad so I think I'll survive.
It's hard to get work done without a desk, so most of my time is either spent out at the AMF3 or in the cafeteria, which has doubled as my office.
Best part about the cafeteria, ice cream every day!
We get three great meals a day, but if we get hungry between meals or after hours they have a 24/7 snack room that is free to use!
Free food!
The camp also has its own gym (for some reason I don't have a picture of it...), sauna, and game room, so there is plenty to do here when you have some downtime.  It's been a great three weeks, so hopefully it continues for the rest of the study! 

Bonus picture:
AMF3 launches balloons twice a day to obtain a vertical profile of the atmosphere, and on this day I took over as balloon launcher! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Lake spray aerosol generation paper published!

Congratulations to graduate student Nate May and undergraduate student Alexa Watson! Nate's first-author paper titled "Lake spray aerosol generation: a method for producing representative particles from freshwater wave breaking" was published in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques. Check it out!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Unexpected Visitors to AMF3

While working out at the AMF3 site in Prudhoe Bay, we've had some unexpected visitors to the site. Our first week here we were in for some excitement, as a polar bear stopped by to check out our research!
This shows how close the bear was to the AMF3.
After the long swim to land, all the bear wanted to do was sleep! (Photo credit: David Oaks)
The polar bear watches the nearby drilling activities. (Photo credit: David Oaks)
We also had a pair of caribou hang out around the site for a few days. These two weren't afraid of our truck at all, and just stayed close by while we took some photos.
These two were buddies and were seen together for most of the week.
Finally, driving back to the site earlier this week we found a Red Fox. 
This guy is certainly a photogenic fox!
After snapping a few pictures, it decided it wanted to play and chased our truck most of the way back to camp!
We sped up after this and the fox kept up with the truck for a good distance!