Profile: Yuan Gao

Professor

Faculty
Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences

Field Specialization:  Atmospheric Chemistry

Onboard the ice breaker!
Greetings from Southern Ocean and Antarctica - Onboard the Ice breaker!

Sponsored by the US National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Atmosphere and Ocean Program and through China-US international research collaboration, I joined a research cruise in Nov. 2010 onboard the Chinese Ice Breaker Xue Long, which means Snow Dragon, to carryout measurements of atmospheric nutrients and aerosols over the southern ocean and Antarctica. The voyage is China’s 27th Antarctic Expedition. Xue Long departed from Shanghai, China, and sailed south through the Southern Ocean’s westerly region, reaching Antarctica in Dec 2010. The ship has been cruising around the Antarctic seas since then. The return leg of this voyage from Antarctica to China will take place in March 2011.

One specific research focus of my project during this cruise is to study the properties of atmospheric iron (Fe) over the Southern Ocean. The Southern Ocean, which surrounds Antarctica,plays an important role in regulating the global carbon cycle and climate. The vast Southern Ocean is a high-nutrient-low-chlorophyll (HNLC) region in the global ocean where the growth of phytoplankton is limited by the supply of micronutrient Fe. Among the sources of Fe in the Southern Ocean is the input of atmospheric dust through long range transport from the continents. However, the uptake of Fe by marine phytoplankton depends on the chemical and physical properties of atmospheric Fe, in particular Fe bioavailability, which is the portion of Fe that can be taken up by marine organisms and a process that is poorly understood. At present, the Southern Ocean is extremely under-sampled due to its vast area and poor atmospheric conditions for observations. Poor conditions include high winds and sea spray, high cloud coverage, and low dust loading in the atmosphere. I am hoping that results from this cruise will provide further insights into atmospheric Fe processes and paint a better understanding of the atmosphere-marine ecosystem interactions in the Southern Ocean.

In addition to carrying out shipboard measurements, I was able to spend time at China’s Antarctic Zhong Shan Station for aerosol sampling. I also visited Australia’s Antarctic Casey and Davis Stations. Through these activities I learned about the unique research efforts in Antarctica made by China and Australia. Looking at this voyage so far, visiting Antarctica has been a unique experience for me,as I have seen the precious Antarctic landscapes and snow-covered natural beauty and now have a better appreciation of how important it is to maintain intact the nature and wildlife on our planet.

By YG, Sent from Xue Long, at 69S, 76E; Feb., 14, 2011.

For more information, please see LINK.

 

  • Departments

    Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences

    Rutgers University New Brunswick

  • Courses Taught

    460:230 Weather and Climate

    375:560 Air Pollution Measurement

    380:576 Environmental Geology

  • Education

    PhD, Oceanography, University of Rhode Island
    Graduate Advisor: Professor Robert A. Duce

  • Publications

    * denotes Gao’s students and postdocs

    Roberts-Semple*, D., and Y. Gao, Evaluation of air pollution, local meteorology and urban public health, International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management, in press, 2011.

    Song*, F., and Y. Gao, Size distributions of trace elements associated with ambient particular matter in the affinity of a major highway in the New Jersey-New York metropolitan area, Atmospheric Environment, 45, 6714-6723, 2011.

    Song*, F., J. Y. Shin, R. Jusino-Atresino, and Y. Gao, Relationships among the Springtime Ground-level NOx, O3 and NO3 in the Vicinity of Highways in the US East Coast, Atmospheric Pollution Research, doi:10.5094/APR.2011.042, 2011.

    Evert J. Elzinga, E.J., Y. Gao and J. Fitts, Iron speciation in urban dust, Atmospheric Environment, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.05.042, 2011.

    Luo, C., and Y. Gao, Aeolian Iron Mobilization by Dust-Acids Interactions and Its Implication for Soluble Iron Deposition to the Ocean: A Test Involving Potential Anthropogenic Organic Acidic Specie, Environmental Chemistry, in press, 2010.

    Song*, F., and Y. Gao, Chemical characteristic of precipitation at metropolitan Newark in the US East Coast, Atmospheric Environment, 43, 4903-4913, 2009.

    Zhao*, Y, and Y. Gao, Mass size distributions of water-soluble inorganic and organic ions in size segregated aerosols over metropolitan Newark in the US East Coast, Atmospheric Environment, 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.01.032, 42, 4063-4078, 2008.

    Zhao*, Y, and Y. Gao, Acidic species and chloride depletion in coarse aerosol particles in the US east coast, Science of the Total Environment, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.09.002, 407, 541-547, 2008.

    Gao, Z.Y., L.Q. Chen, and Y. Gao, Air-sea carbon fluxes and their controlling factors in the Prydz Bay in the Antarctic, Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 27 (3), 136-146, 2008.

    Xu*, N, and Y. Gao, Characterization of hematite dissolution affected by oxalate coating, kinetics and pH, Applied Geochemistry, doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2007.12.026, 23 (4), 783-793, 2008.

    Ayars*, J., and Y. Gao, Atmospheric nitrogen deposition to the Mullica River-Great Bay Ecosystem, Marine Environmental Research, 64, 590-600, 2007.

    Yang*, H., and Y. Gao, Air-to-sea flux of soluble iron: Is it driven more by HNO3 or SO2? - An examination in the light of dust aging, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, 7, 1-21, 2007.

    Gao, Y., J.R. Anderson, and X. Hua, Dust characteristics over the North Pacific observed through shipboard measurements during the ACE-Asia Experiment, Atmospheric Environment, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2007.06.060, 41 (36), 7907-7922, 2007.

    Gao, Y., M. Kennish, and A.M. Flynn, Atmospheric deposition of nitrogen to New Jersey coastal waters and its implications for nutrient enrichment and biotic impacts, Journal of the Ecological Society of America, S31-S41, 2007.

    Berman-Frank, I., Y-B Chen, Y. Gao, K. Fennel, M. Follows, A. Milligan and P.G. Falkowski, Feedbacks between the nitrogen, carbon and oxygen cycles, in: Nitrogen in the Marine Environment (Editors D.J. Capone, D.A. Bronk, M.R. Mulholland and E.J. Carpenter), in press, 2006.

    Gao, Y., S-M Fan, and J. L. Sarmiento, Aeolian iron input to the ocean through precipitation scavenging: A modeling perspective and its implication for natural iron fertilization in the ocean, Journal of Geophysical Research, 108, D7, 4221, doi:10.1029/2002JD002420, 2003.

    Gao, Y., Atmospheric nitrogen deposition to Barnegat Bay, Atmospheric Environment, 36 (38), 5783-5794, 2002.

    Gao, Y., E. Nelson, M.P. Field, Q. Ding et al., Characterization of atmospheric trace elements in PM2.5 particulate matter over the New York-New Jersey harbor estuary, Atmospheric Environment, 36 (6), 1077-1086, 2002.

    Gao, Y., Y. J. Kaufman, D. Tanre, D. Kolber, and P. G. Falkowski, Seasonal distributions of aeolian iron fluxes to the global ocean, Geophysical Research Letters, 28 (1), 29-32, 2001.

    Gao, Y., and J. Anderson, Characteristics of Chinese aerosols determined by individual-particle analyses, Journal of Geophysical Research, 106, 18,037-18045, 2001.

    Gao, Y., Atmospheric chemistry and transport of Asian dust, in: The Health of the Yellow Sea (Eds. G. H. Hong, J. Zhang, and B. K. Park), 251-280, The Earth Love Publication Association, Seoul, 1998.

    Gao, Y. and R. A. Duce, The air-sea chemical exchange in coastal oceans, Advance in Earth Sciences, 6, 551-563, 1997.

    Gao, Y., R. Arimoto, R. A. Duce, M. Y. Zhou, L. Q. Chen, X. Y. Zhang, G. Y. Zhang, and Z. S. An, Temporal and spatial distribution of dust and its total deposition to the China Sea, Tellus, 49B, 172-189, 1997.

    Gao, Y, R. Arimoto, R. A. Duce, L. Q. Chen, M. Y. Zhou, and D. Y. Gu, Atmospheric non-sea-salt sulfate, nitrate, and Methanesulfonate over the China Sea, Journal of Geophysical Research, 101, 12,601-12,611, 1996.

    Gao, Y., R. Arimoto, R. A. Duce, D. S. Lee, and M. Y. Zhou, Input of atmospheric trace elements and mineral matter to the Yellow Sea during the spring of a low dust year, Journal of Geophysical Research, 97, 3767-3777, 1992.

    Gao, Y., R. Arimoto, M. T. Zhou, J. T. Merrill, and R. A. Duce, Relationships between the dust concentrations over eastern Asia and the remote North Pacific, Journal of Geophysical Research, 97, 9867-9872, 1992.

  • Research Initiatives

    Characterization of Atmospheric Dust Properties through Field/Laboratory Experiments
    As an aerosol, dust affects the Earth's radiation budget through direct and indirect effects. The degrees of both effects are dominated by chemical and physical properties of dust. Dust particles also provide reaction sites for many heterogeneous reactions involving SO2, NOy, HOx, O3, etc. and serve as conveyors carrying anthropogenic substances from the continents to the remote environments through the long-range transport. Those processes may alter the chemical and physical properties of dust (including aeolian iron solubility and then its bioavailability to the surface ocean biota). Characterization of dust properties is thus crucially important to quantify dust climate forcing and to understand its biological role in the ocean biogeochemical cycles. Our work in this direction includes field and laboratory efforts, reflected by selected publications below:

    Gao, Y., R. Arimoto, R. A. Duce, D. S. Lee, and M. Y. Zhou, Input of atmospheric trace elements and mineral matter to the Yellow Sea during the spring of a low dust year, Journal of Geophysical Research, 97, 3767 - 3777, 1992.

    Gao, Y., R. Arimoto, M. T. Zhou, J. T. Merrill, and R. A. Duce, Relationships between the dust concentrations over eastern Asia and the remote North Pacific, Journal of Geophysical Research, 97, 9867 - 9872, 1992.

    Gao, Y., R. Arimoto, R. A. Duce, M. Y. Zhou, L. Q. Chen, X. Y. Zhang, G. Y. Zhang, and Z. S. An, Temporal and spatial distribution of dust and its total deposition to the China Sea, Tellus, 49B, 172 - 189, 1997.

    Gao, Y., and J. Anderson, Characteristics of Chinese aerosols determined by individual-particle analyses, Journal of Geophysical Research, 106, 18,037-18045, 2001.

    Gao, Y., J.R. Anderson, and X. Hua, Dust characteristics over the North Pacific observed through shipboard measurements during the ACE-Asia Experiment, Atmospheric Environment, 41,7907-7922, 2007.

    Xu, N, and Y. Gao, Characterization of hematite dissolution affected by oxalate coating, kinetics and pH, Applied Geochemistry, 23, 783-793, 2008.

    Quantifying Atmospheric Iron Input to the Ocean through Modeling and Data Assimilations
    Dust is a source of iron, an essential micronutrient for phytoplankton growth in the surface ocean. Recent Fe fertilization experiments conducted in the HNLC ocean waters confirmed that Fe supplies strongly regulate phytoplankton growth in certain oceanic regions. The atmospheric Fe input may, in turn, regulate the global carbon cycle and thus affect climate. In particular, at present, climate warming has caused increased stratification in the upper ocean that may prevent the surface ocean from mixing with the deep ocean and decrease the nutrient fluxes from below, oceanic primary production could be more dependent on the nutrient input from external sources, such as atmospheric Fe deposition. Therefore, quantifying atmospheric iron deposition to the ocean is important. Our work in this direction has been made through modeling and data assimilations integrated with remote sensing; examples of our efforts are:

    Gao, Y., Y. J. Kaufman, D. Tanre, D. Kolber, and P. G. Falkowski, Seasonal distributions of aeolian iron fluxes to the global ocean, Geophysical Research Letters, 28, 29-32, 2001.

    Gao, Y., S-M Fan, and J. L. Sarmiento, Aeolian iron input to the ocean through precipitation scavenging: A modeling perspective and its implication for natural iron fertilization in the ocean, Journal of Geophysical Research, 108, 2003.

    Yang, H., and Y. Gao, Air-to-sea flux of soluble iron: Is it driven more by HNO3 or SO2? - An examination in the light of dust aging, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, 7, 10043-10063, 2007.

    Luo, C., and Y. Gao, Aeolian Iron Mobilization by Dust-Acids Interactions and Its Implication for Soluble Iron Deposition to the Ocean: A Test Involving Potential Anthropogenic Organic Acidic Specie, Environmental Chemistry, doi:10.1071/EN09116, 7, 153-161, 2010.

    Characterization of Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition to Coastal Waters through Field Measurements
    The coastal marine atmosphere adjacent to or downwind of large urban and industrial centers can be strongly impacted by pollution emissions, and high concentrations of pollutants in coastal air could result in enhanced air-to-sea deposition fluxes. One of the consequences is accelerated coastal primary production (or eutrophication) driven by excessive discharges of nutrient nitrogen (N) from both point and non-point sources, such as atmospheric deposition. With earlier work on the Asian coast, we recently have focused on quantifying atmospheric nitrogen over the US East Coast, in particular atmospheric nitrogen deposition to the New Jersey coastal ecosystems on the coast of the Mid-Atlantic Bight. Detailed results are in:

    Gao, Y, R. Arimoto, R. A. Duce, L. Q. Chen, M. Y. Zhou, and D. Y. Gu, Atmospheric non-sea-salt sulfate, nitrate, and methanesulfonate over the China Sea, Journal of Geophysical Research, 101, 12,601-12,611, 1996.

    Gao, Y., Atmospheric nitrogen deposition to Barnegat Bay, Atmospheric Environment, 36, 5783-5794, 2002.
    Ayars, J., and Y. Gao, Atmospheric nitrogen deposition to the Mullica River-Great Bay Ecosystem, Marine Environmental Research, 64, 590-600, 2007.

    Gao, Y., M. Kennish, and A.M. Flynn, Atmospheric deposition of nitrogen to New Jersey coastal waters and its implications for nutrient enrichment and biotic impacts, Journal of the Ecological Society of America, S31-S41, 2007.

    Urban Air Pollution Characterization through Ambient Measurements
    Urban air pollution has drawn increasing attention due to its impacts on air quality, human health, and regional and global climate change. Air pollutants, both primary and secondary, may exist in aerosol-, gas-, and precipitation- phases, functioning differently. Therefore air quality represents a result of interactions of different air components and environmental factors. Our efforts in the area of urban air pollution characterization are mainly based at Newark, the largest metropolitan center in New Jersey and adjacent to New York City. Examples of our efforts are as follows:

    Zhao, Y, and Y. Gao, Mass size distributions of water-soluble inorganic and organic ions in size segregated aerosols over metropolitan Newark in the US East Coast, Atmospheric Environment, 42, 4063 - 4078, 2008.

    Zhao, Y, and Y. Gao, Acidic species and chloride depletion in coarse aerosol particles in the US east coast, Science of the Total Environment, 407, 541-547, 2008.

    Song, F., and Y. Gao, Chemical characteristics of precipitation at metropolitan Newark in the US East Coast, Atmospheric Environment, in press, 2009.

  • 973-353-1139
  • yuangaoh@newark.rutgers.edu
  • 101 Warren Street,
    Smith Hall Room 140
    Newark, New Jersey, 07102
  • For more information see my website