Katherine Ball

Katherine Ball
B.S, Chemical Engineering, Undergraduate, 05/21/2020

Cohort Level: Cohort - II

Career Goal: Continue on to research at a graduate level, obtain a PhD in Chemical or Environmental Engineering, then work in the Chemical/Environmental industry

Expected Graduation Date: May 21, 2021

Degree: B.S Chemical Engineering

Research Title: Investigations of Ammonium Nitrate Formation During the OWLETS-2 Campaign

Research Synopsis: During the second Ozone Water-Land Environmental Transition Study (OWLETS-2) campaign that took place in June 2018, high levels of ammonium-nitrate (NH4NO3) was observed at Hart-Miller Island, a small island in the northern part of the Chesapeake Bay. This is an unusual observation for the summer in the eastern US. NH4NO3 is a semi-volatile species so ammonium is typically associated with sulfate as (NH4)2SO4 during the warmer seasons. Not only were high concentrations observed, but there was an increase in NO3 concentrations in its diurnal profile. An increase in NH4NO3 concentrations during the warmer hours of the day was also unexpected for the same reason as described above. These observations were linked to high gas phase ammonia (NH3) in the region. The concentrations of NH3, NH4+, and NO3- observed at Hart-Miller Island were significantly higher than historical averages for the summer months in the same region. Observed SO42- concentrations closely followed historical trends. Back-trajectory analysis was performed and it was concluded that the high levels of NH3 came from both industrial and agricultural sources in the region. Further analysis has also been completed to compare observations from the OWLETS-2 campaign to the EPAs CMAQ model.