A junior majoring in chemistry with a minor in mathematics, Christina McCluskey
came to CMMAP this summer from Coastal Carolina University. She worked under
Professor Jeff Collett and research scientist Katie Beem investigating the
presence of reactive nitrogen in fine and coarse aerosol in samples taken from
Rocky Mountain National Park.
Writes Christina, nitrogen deposition is an aspect of the nitrogen cycle, which
is vital for an ecosystem to function. Perturbation of this cycle can lead to
a series of problems, including acidification of soils and nitrogen saturation
of vegetation. Christina's study measured inorganic and organic nitrogen in
samples from the Rocky Mountain Airborne Nitrogen and Sulfer (RoMANS) study,
taken from April to November of 2009. The Station Fire in California smoke
period was also examined for the impacts distant fires have on the nitrogen
characteristics of fine and coarse aerosols.
Her study showed fine and coarse aerosols to have similar organic nitrogen
contribution to the total amount of nitrogen (TN). It was found that the
important contributors to TN in fine and coarse aerosol are ammonium sulfate
and sodium nitrate, respectively. The coarse aerosol measurements suggested
average temperature affects the amount of organic nitrogen and nitrate
concentrations. The Station Fire results showed an increase in the total
abundance of nitrogen in fine aerosol during the smoke period. Also, the
aerosols affected by the smoke were more heavily enriched with organic nitrogen.
However, the coarse aerosol concentrations of total nitrogen were below
detection level. The information provided from Christina's study contributes
to the small database that currently exists which can attribute to better
understanding of the deposition of nitrogen.
Christina is interested in atmospheric chemistry, specifically air quality, and
in global climate change. She likes hiking, camping, bike rides, kayaking,
going to the beach, reading, music and just having fun.
Christina's research poster,
The Presence of Reactive Nitrogen in Fine and Coarse Aerosol, is here