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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

UNC Faculty Members Awarded NOAA Grant to Study Exposures to Fires, Their Impact upon Atmosphere, Climate and Health

Dr. Barbara J. Turpin, professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, will serve as principal investigator for a three-year, $592,448 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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[Photo: Dr. Barbara Turpin (left) and Dr. Jason Surratt are lead investigators for a project that will study people’s exposure to fires – and the impact of those fires on the atmosphere, climate change and human health]

The grant, “Characterizing Oxidized North American Fire Emissions and Their Aqueous/Multiphase Atmospheric Transformations Through the FIREX Campaign,” will support a study of the impact of biomass burning on air quality and climate change.

FIREX – an acronym for “Fire Influence on Regional and Global Environments Experiment” – aims to understand and predict the impact of fires in North America on the atmosphere and to support better land management to prevent those fires from occurring.

Turpin will work with Dr. Jason Surratt, associate professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the Gillings School, who will serve as a co-principal investigator for the project.

“Although NOAA’s interest in this work hinges around climate, exposure to atmospherically-processed wildfire emissions is a major (and growing) concern in the western U.S.,” Dr. Turpin said.  “Exposures are comparable to air pollution exposures in China.  The proposed work is aimed at better understanding the properties of these mixtures and the atmospheric processes that transform wildfire emissions to improve models that predict air pollution, human health and climate impacts from wildfire emissions.”