Anxhelo wins award at AMS Annual Meeting

Anxhelo Agastra was recognized with a Poster Presentation Award at the AMS Student Conference, recently held in Boston in January 2020. Anxhelo presented his work “Developing and evaluating a probabilistic forecast model for prescribed fires,” which is also the subject of his Honors in the Major thesis. The work uses machine learning and regression models to predict day-to-day variations in prescribed fires across the southeastern United States. Anxhelo’s predictions out-perform existing forecast methods using weather forecast data to anticipate where fires are likely to occur. Congratulations Anxhelo!

Have improvements in ozone air quality reduced ozone uptake into plants?

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Our analysis of trends in ozone uptake into vegetation has just been published in Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. The paper, led by Allison Ronan, used the SynFlux dataset, developed in the group by Jason Ducker. Despite the reductions in ozone air pollution across large parts of the United States and Europe, we found no consistent reductions in the amount of ozone that plants are taking up. Since the ozone uptake is directly related to damages, including lost crop yield, this work means that plants are not yet seeing the benefits of improved air quality. The reason for the disconnect is that the stomatal pores on leaf surfaces adapt to changing weather and climate and these stomatal changes have a bigger impact on the ozone uptake than the trends in ozone in the surrounding atmosphere.


Trends (2005–2014) in O3 metrics relevant to plant injury at SynFlux sites in Europe. POD is the phytotoxic ozone dose, representing the uptake of ozone into plant leaves. Other metrics quantify the concentration of ozone in ambient air. All metrics are calculated for June–September daytime. Arrows show linear trends and colors indicate significance of the trend (p value). From Ronan et al. (2020).

Ronan, A. C., Ducker, J.A., Schnell, J.L., Holmes, C.D. (2020) Have improvements in ozone air quality reduced ozone uptake into plants? Elementa Sci. Anthro. 8, 2, https://doi.org/10.1525/elementa.399 [pdf]

Jason graduates!

Jason defended his PhD dissertation in November and graduated in the December commencement ceremony. His dissertation developed new datasets to understand atmospheric photochemistry and ozone. Congratulations!

Charley awarded NASA FINESST fellowship

Charley Fite was selected for a NASA Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) graduate research fellowship. The fellowship will support Charley’s research on air quality, fires, and pollution forecasting for the next three years. As part of that research, Charley will spend eight weeks in summer 2019 in the field during the NASA-NOAA FIREX-AQ aircraft campaign doing flight planning, along with other members of our group. The project will combine that aircraft data with satellite remote sensing and an atmospheric chemistry model to advance our knowledge of fires and smoke in the southeast US and beyond. Congratulations!

Kelly and Anxhelo selected for prestigious national programs

Two group members were chosen for selective science leadership workshops in June 2019. Congratulations Kelly and Anxhelo!

Kelly Graham joined the American Meteorological Society Summer Policy Colloquium in Washington, DC with funding support from the National Science Foundation. For ten days, Kelly joined a small group of graduate students and faculty from across the US for immersion in science policy. The program is designed to train future leaders in national science policy and funding. The group met with many current science leaders, including Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of Office of Science and Technology.

Anxhelo Agastra was selected for the Undergraduate Leadership Workshop at NCAR. The program gathered about 20 undergraduate geoscience majors from universities across the country. During a week in Boulder, Colorado, they learned about science careers and leadership opportunities .

Attendees of the 2019 AMS Science Policy Colloquium. Kelly Graham second from right.
2019 Undergraduate Leadership Workshop in Boulder. Anxhelo Agastra front row, third from right.

Group presentations at the 9th International GEOS-Chem Conference

Six group members presented their research at the 9th International GEOS-Chem Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts May 5-9, 2019. Several contributions from the group will go into the upcoming public versions of the GEOS-Chem model.

Holly Nowell: “Impacts of improved burned area estimates on biomass burning emissions” (talk)

Christopher Holmes: “Cloud chemistry in the tropospheric NOx cycle: a new modeling approach its global implications” (talk)

Kelly Graham: “Inverse modeling of CO2 fluxes using O-Buoys, a multi-year dataset of surface observations from the Arctic Ocean”

Jason Ducker: “SatJ development: A satellite-derived dataset of photolysis rates in the atmosphere”

Kaitlyn Confer: “Evaluating and improving Arctic ozone chemistry in GEOS-Chem”

Will Swanson: “Observations and modeling of Arctic halogen chemistry”

Allison and Kaitlyn graduate!

Allison Ronan and Kaitlyn Confer both defended their theses in April and graduated this semester.

Allison’s masters thesis, titled “Have improvements in ozone air quality benefited plants?” used our SynFlux dataset to explore trends in plant injuries from ozone. She showed that falling ozone concentration has not translated into reduced impacts on plants. The reason is that leaf stomata control the ozone uptake and injury as much as the ozone concentration. Her work is now in review at Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.

Kaitlyn’s honors in the major thesis tests the ability of the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model to simulate surface ozone depletion events in Arctic springtime. She tested multiple versions of the model against observations from the O-Buoy observing network and land surface stations. Kaitlyn presented the research at the 9th International GEOS-Chem Conference in May and she is headed to the University of Washington for graduate school in the fall.

Congratulations Allison and Kaitlyn!

Holmes wins NSF CAREER grant

The National Science Foundation selected Chris for a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for a project titled, “Chemistry-climate interactions and feedbacks through coupled atmosphere-biosphere processes.” The prestigious grant will support research and education projects in the group for five years (2019-2024), including including graduate research assistants and summer undergraduate researchers.

Atmosphere-biosphere fluxes that influence atmospheric chemistry and climate.

Holmes appointed Baum professor

EOAS and the Dean of Arts & Sciences at FSU appointed Chris as the Werner A. and Shirley B. Baum professor of meteorology for 2019-2021. The endowed Baum funds will support new research within the group in the areas of atmosphere-land-climate interactions as well as visiting speakers on these topics.

Dr. Baum was the founding chairman of the meteorology department at Florida State University in 1949 and later served in university administration at FSU and elsewhere.