The fog project has gone slow but secure. Over the past year we had three significant fog collections which we analyzed to study the NH3 concentrations in Iowa’s atmosphere. The air quality project suggested an increased basicity in the fog samples collected here in the Cedar Valley area which is expected due to the use of nitrates in agriculture across Iowa. However, we do not know the exact concentrations yet given that they are below the limits to detection of our instruments. We have purchased a Thermo Model 17i NO-NO2-NH3 analyzer that will be used for future measurements and will allow us to detect the lower NH3 concentrations. So far, the amounts of NH3 found in the atmosphere in the Cedar Valley area are way below the safe limits which suggest a really good air quality in the area. However, we will continue to study the NH3 concentrations in the atmosphere given that increased [NH3] is predicted to have an effect over the scavenged newly formed species. For now, after the fog collection, aerosol collection, ammonia analysis, pH measurements, total organic carbon measurements, ion chromatography, and major ion analysis performed, all is left is to wait for new foggy days to collect more samples!
When the progress of this project was presented in the IAS conference, there were a lot of interested people asking about the progress of the fog and atmospheric research part of the BETA project. I was surprised by the amount of people that were approaching to ask me questions (and ended taking pictures of the weebly website to check our progress). In many occasions, I ended up explaining specifics about the three sub projects and showing interested people the website in my tablet. By the end of the poster session my voice was almost gone and I needed some quiet time to rest my voice. The next day of the conference I also had a couple of people asking me questions about BETA since, according to them, the three times they came around to ask questions there was a crowd around me. Overall, it was a very good experience to share the progress of the BETA team in this state conference. I had a lot of fun and the two hours of the poster session seemed like 15 min!
On this page we'll post updates of the BETA Project's progress- stay tuned!