Why is ice in the Arctic melting so quickly? Why are glaciers around the world shrinking at such a high rate? These and other climate change-related questions can only be answered through long-term measurements at multiple altitudes in the atmosphere, not just at the ground. Inexpensive, long-term measurements high in the atmosphere are particularly important to validate climate models. Currently, 99+% of all measurements are performed on the ground and usually don’t represent what’s happening higher in the atmosphere.
At Brechtel, we are working on miniaturized instruments to measure particles in multiple ways from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) so that observations can be made inexpensively, even in very remote locations. US Department of Energy, NOAA and NSF funding under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program has supported the successful development of small instruments that measure particle physical, chemical and optical properties. Black carbon is one especially important species we’ve targeted due to its large global biomass burning source.
Through the development of miniaturized and cost-effective particle measurement technologies like the ACCESS, Brechtel is helping climate scientists better understand the roles particles play in our climate.