Rachel Cucinotta was able to develop some of her interest in atmospheric
chemistry with her CMMAP summer project this year.
"Throughout most of the third world there are not adequate and acceptable waste
collection practices so there are limited options which inhabitants are forced
with the everyday practice of burning their waste. The discarded waste smolders
continuously and emits dangerous levels of black carbon and organic aerosols
into the atmosphere. Black carbon and organic aerosols can have destructive
effects on the climate and the public's health.
"My research involved PM2.5, a particle smaller than 2.5 microns that you can
breathe easily into your lungs, and aerosol optical depth (AOD), the intensity
of light that reaches the surface without being scattered or absorbed by an
aerosol. The GEOS-Chem-TOMAS model's output was compared to observations from
SPARTAN and AERONET networks to identify how the PM2.5 concentrations and AOD
were changing when including the trash burning emissions. Most trash burning
location's AOD was increasing between 4.5-6% because of domestic waste burning!"
Rachel's other research interests are severe weather, cloud dynamics, radar and
synoptic meteorology. Her summer research poster,
Changes in Aerosol Optical Depth and PM2.5 Concentrations due to Open Domestic
Waste Burning, may be found here.
When she isn't studying aerosols, Rachel likes to hike, do yoga, spend time
with friends and travel.