Events Calendar

Welch Foundation Visitors Series: Unraveling the Ocean's Influence on Climate and Health: Insights from Field and Laboratory Studies

Tuesday, April 16, 2024
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Location: GLT 5.104

In the face of unprecedented climate change, understanding the intricate interplay between the ocean and atmosphere is crucial. Human-induced pollution exacerbates environmental challenges, yet current models do not account for the impact of human pollution on the ocean and atmosphere. Particularly understudied are the impacts of waterborne microbes and pollution on coastal air quality and human health.

This presentation reveals insights gleaned from innovative laboratory experiments conducted at the NSF Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment (CAICE). Emphasizing coastal environments, scientists are exploring the composition, cloud-forming abilities, and ice nucleation properties of marine aerosols.

Using the Scripps Ocean-Atmosphere Research Simulator (SOARS), we investigate ocean-atmosphere exchange dynamics under varying conditions with control of winds, waves, microbiology, and temperature. Additionally, we are performing studies to better understand the transfer mechanisms involved aerosolization of bacteria, viruses, and gases from the ocean to the atmosphere.

This presentation will discuss the implications of human-induced environmental changes on human health, ecosystems, and climate. As we confront unprecedented warming, this presentation underscores the urgency of comprehensively understanding ocean-atmosphere interactions for effective climate mitigation strategies and public health policies.


Professor Kimberly Prather holds the Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry at UC San Diego and is affiliated with both the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She is the founding Director of the NSF Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment (CAICE), a Center which focuses on understanding ocean/atmosphere exchange, marine biology, and ocean impacts on aerosols and atmospheric chemistry. Her research includes developing advanced instrumentation for real-time measurements of aerosol size and composition to understand their effects on climate, human health, and air quality. She has been heavily involved in science communication particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic where she helped advance public understanding of the role of aerosols in transmission of infectious disease.

Professor Prather's contributions have been recognized through her election to the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. Most recently, she received the prestigious 2024 NAS Award in Chemical Sciences.

Speaker: Dr. Kimberly Prather, UC San Diego