Op-Ed on Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Rule for Oil and Gas emissions

Dr. DeCarlo published an op-ed on a proposed DEP rule regarding emissions from oil and gas development in Pennsylvania.  The proposed rule came from the Air Quality Technical Advisory Group, and went to the state DEP for consideration.  This rule, while correctly identifying VOCs as an air quality issue that should be monitored, failed to address emissions of methane directly, and viewed any reductions in methane release as a co-benefit to reducing VOCs.  This, unfortunately, misses the importance of controlling VOCs directly.


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People + Ozone = more particle mass

Dr. Anita Avery published the final paper of her Ph.D. work in the DeCarlo group. This work analyzes measurements made in a classroom, and links occupancy to decreases in ozone (seen before by other researchers), and subsequent addition of particle mass (something new!).  Through careful analysis we show a “emission” mass spectrum for the products of this ozone + people reaction. It will be interesting to see if this work can be replicated in other places too!

People Plus Ozone

Read more here: 


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Fall 2018 AGU meeting presentations by DeCarlo Group

AGU 2018 Fall meeting starts with a presentation by Ben Werden a Ph.D. Candidate in the DeCarlo group discussing the Nepal Ambient Monitoring and Source Testing Experiment Wed 16:13-16:27 

Presentations continue with 3 simultaneous posters on Thursday 8AM noon:

1) Erin Katz on mobile AMS measurements in Nepal

2.) Dr. Michael Giordano on Winter Fog in Lumbini, Nepal (presented by Ben Werden)

3.) Dr. DeCarlo presenting on Philadelphia aerosol concentration and composition in different seasons using a combination of network monitors (long term coverage) in combination with outdoor AMS measurements made by Dr. Anita Avery to understand seasonal changes to aerosols https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm18/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/458041

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Op-ed on Methane leakage in Pennsylvania and beyond

Dr. DeCarlo authored an op-ed in the Morning Call on the importance of curtailing methane emissions from natural gas operations.  This op-ed includes a discussion of methane measurement results by Dr. Doug Goetz when he was a Ph.D. student in the DeCarlo Lab.  Doug found that over the course of 3 years of development (2012 to 2015), methane leakage increased by 300% similar to the rate of increase in natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale basin.  This contrasts with the industry estimate of methane leakage which indicated a decrease of 30%.  Clearly the measured values are not in agreement with the estimate from the reported emission inventory.  The op-ed calls for improved monitoring to track the leakage using measurements. 

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Dr. DeCarlo selected as Highly Cited Research for 5th year

In the annual list of Highly Cited Researchers compiled by Clarivate Analytics, Dr. DeCarlo was selected for his publication record in the field of Geosciences.  This marks the 5th consecutive year for the honor.  It is a tribute to all the collaborative work that makes this field or research so much fun.  

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Undergraduate Research Award from Eastern Analytical Symposium given to Erin Katz

Erin Katz was selected to receive and Undergraduate Research Award from the Eastern Analytical Symposium for her outstanding work on Indoor Aerosols.  As part of the Award, Erin attended the symposium and presented her research as part of the HOMEChem Campaign.  Congratulations on this well-deserved award!

EAS Katz

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Blowing Snow as a particle source in Antarctica (and more…)

Michael Giordano, Ph.D. led a team of authors from Drexel, University of Colorado, and University of Michigan on a new paper from the DeCarlo Group on the results of the 2ODIAC campaign in Antarctica.

During 2 separate measurement seasons, we analyze Aerosol Mass Spectrometer data in concert with other particle measurements, gas phase measurements, and meteorology to better understand how meteorology can impact aerosol concentrations and composition.  Key to this study is the ability to measure aerosol composition with high time resolution, so that shifts in wind speed can clearly be linked to the aerosol concentration and composition.   Full paper is here so you can get all the details on the measurement.

Some highlights:

  • Sea Salt dominates the submicron composition
  • Windspeed high enough to blow snow, particle concentrations increased
  • Iodine and Bromine were observed at small concentrations in the aerosol and are sometimes correlated and sometimes anti-correlated to ozone concentration.

Reference: Giordano, M. R., Kalnajs, L. E., Goetz, J. D., Avery, A. M., Katz, E., May, N. W., Leemon, A., Mattson, C., Pratt, K. A., and DeCarlo, P. F.: The importance of blowing snow to halogen-containing aerosol in coastal Antarctica: influence of source region versus wind speed, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 16689-16711, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-16689-2018, 2018.

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Wharton Business Radio Discussion of Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas

Knowledge@Wharton a radio show from Wharton Business Radio did a piece a couple weeks ago in which Dr DeCarlo was one of the guests on the show along with Ramon Alvarez, Sean Wright, two authors from the recent science paper  Assessment of methane emissions from the U.S. oil and gas supply chain, the radio show discusses the issues surrounding methane leakage from oil and gas infrastructure.  Some key points:

  • Leakage of methane is 60% higher than EPA estimates 
  • Climate impacts from leakage essentially erase climate benefit of natural gas power production vs coal power production
    • Note: nuclear, wind, solar, and hydro do not emit CO2 for power generation
  • Cost of leaked methane is $2B
  • Climate cost of leaked methane is ~$13B (at $1000 per ton Social Cost of Carbon)
  • At this time States have a roll to play in enacting regulations to reduce methane leakage
    • Federal legislation is unlikely at this time.

Important note (not in the radio show): Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and we collectively should focus our efforts on transitioning away from ALL fossil fuels to lessen the impact of climate change on our planet. 

Radio interview here: 8/1/2018 Knowledge@Wharton

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Dr. DeCarlo gets early career research award from College of Engineering

Dr. DeCarlo was recently awarded the “Outstanding Early Career Research Achievement Award” from the College of Engineering.  It’s always an honor to have the work of the group recognized at the college level.  Read more here:


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Erin Katz receives 2 awards from Chemistry Department!

At the annual College of Arts and Sciences Award Ceremony, Erin Katz was the recipient of 2 awards from the Department of Chemistry.  Great to see all your hard work recognized.  Congratulations Erin!IMG 3336

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