The perfect conditions for radiation fog, the fog we are collecting, are as follows: a clear night, high humidity, calm wind, and for the temperature to reduce to the dew point temperature after midnight, then the air reaches saturation and “voila!” we have fog to collect in the early hours of the next morning. Unfortunately, due to the dry fall that we’ve had, and this past windy week, we have not had a chance to collect samples.
Once conditions are perfect for yielding fog our procedure for collecting fog will begin. We will turn on the machine pictured below that facilitates and airflow while preventing other material to enter the samples, and we will collect many samples in bottles over a couple of hours that morning. The bottles containing the samples will then be placed in a refrigerator until they are analyzed using an IC (ion chromatography) analyzer. This IC analysis will inform the team of the major inorganic ions in the fog.
Dr. Shen is very excited moving forward in this three year project to see where we go with our results in the study of the atmosphere of present day earth. While right now we are looking for primarily inorganic material in the ambient air, she has hopes that in the next couple of years we can begin looking at the organic material as well.
--Carissa Herkelman, currently working closely with Dr. Shen in the present day portion of the UNI BETA project.