Research

At UNC Charlotte, I focus my atmospheric sciences lens on geographies of fire, climate, and air quality.

I study fire processes using biogeophysical modeling of global and regional fire patterns, modern-day satellite and ground-based data, paleoproxies and historical records of past fire, and I work with anthropologists to understand human-fire relationships around the world. To understand fire, I also study the patterns of lightning and how we can learn more about past lightning patterns as well as future using, largely, statistical prediction methods.

I developed my expertise in atmospheric sciences around aerosol physics and chemistry using field measurements of fire smoke, and then studied how these data could be incorporated into an understanding of climate forcing and variability. Aerosols in the near-surface atmosphere are a major contributor to not only climate forcing and change, but to air quality. These aerosols are the particles that make up particle pollution, which itself is highly detrimental to the health of populations breathing that air. Imagine a campfire and what happens when you breathe the smoke. Those are aerosols that you are choking on! Using that perspective, I work with air quality groups in North Carolina such as Mecklenburg County Air Quality office and a non-profit called Clean Air Carolina to study regional air quality, and I mostly focus on where I live (Charlotte).

Finally, I also love thinking about data and the atmosphere, and with student help, I manage the campus weather station and webpage.

Please read through links on this webpage to learn more about my research and teaching, and the students I work with and have worked with in the past and what they are doing now to make the world a better place. Email me if you have questions. I am happy to answer questions or help with whatever I can, except when I am sleeping. You can browse through my public presentations to get a sense of topics I get the chance to talk about with broad audiences ranging from K-12 to college students to general audiences to retired.

Please note that while I work hard to have my research interests reflected accurately in this web portal, there may be some aspects that are out of date (I’m a better scientist and teacher than a web page manager). The last update I made to this page was in November 2017. My publications, presentations, and student pages usually are the most up-to-date.