News & Events

EVEN seminar: Atmospheric bioaerosol: An underappreciated component of the coarse mode

Friday, November 17, 2017, 2:00PM - 3:00PM


Anne Perring





Atmospheric aerosol and its interaction with clouds and radiation constitutes the largest uncertainty in predictions of future climate. Primary biological aerosol (PBA - consisting of airborne bacteria, fungal spores and pollen) is a subset of atmospheric aerosol that can affect cloud optical properties, cloud glaciation and precipitation type and amount. Thus they may have far-reaching climatic and hydrological implications and could possibly represent an important feedback mechanism between ecosystems and the weather they experience. PBA emissions can substantially impact local and regional air quality, causing allergenic response in sensitive populations and impacting the health of crops and livestock. Atmospheric transport of PBA can lead to colonization of far-flung environments and the atmosphere may represent a key component of the life-cycle of certain organisms. Despite these very interesting potential effects, no verified source database or atmospheric model exists to estimate loadings or track transport of PBA, primarily due to a lack of widespread measurements, especially above the surface. Historically measurements have been labor intensive and have had low temporal resolution however, in recent years, a new generation of real-time, single-particle fluorescence instruments have become available and are revolutionizing our understanding of PBA abundances in a wide variety of environments. In this talk, I will discuss the developing instrumentation and present data from a variety of field measurement campaigns. I will assess the importance and impacts of bioaerosol in a range of environments spanning from the tropics to the arctic, from clean marine environments to large feedlot operations and from the surface to nearly 6 km. These measurements represent some of the first vertical profiles of bioaerosol and can provide important constraints on bioaerosol atmospheric abundance and transport. Regional and global implications are discussed.


Anne Perring has been working as CIRES researcher at NOAA since 2009. Anne was initially hired to work on ambient observations of black carbon aerosol using the Single Particle Soot Photometer (SP2). Since 2013 she has also been leading efforts at CSD to measure atmospheric bioaerosol, making ambient measurements using a Wide-Band Integrated Bioaerosol Sensor (WIBS) as well as working on instrumental and methodological developments for UV-IF techniques. Prior to joining CSD she was a graduate student at UC Berkeley where she investigated the impact of alkyl- and multifunctional-nitrate formation on tropospheric ozone production and NOy transport.


Free and open to the public.