Metals from the reentry of spacecraft in stratospheric particles

Dan Murphy

Dan Murphy


Wednesday, 24 January 2024
11 am Mountain Time
DSRC 2A305


NOAA's Stratospheric Aerosol Budget and Radiation Experiment (SABRE) mission in February and March 2023 sampled the stratospheric polar vortex. The Particle Analysis by Laser Mass Spectrometry (PALMS) instrument measured the chemical composition of individual stratospheric particles. Besides sulfuric acid and metals from ablated meteoroids, a significant number of particles contained metals that can be traced back to the reentry of satellites and rocket boosters. We will discuss the number and composition of these particles in the stratosphere as well as what they might imply for stratospheric chemistry. Such particles might induce changes in the size distribution of the sulfate aerosol layer or change ice nucleation in polar stratospheric clouds. With a growing number of launches and satellites, it is important to understand the implications of metals in the stratosphere.

Dan Murphy is the program lead for Aerosol Properties and Processes at the NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory since 2007. His main research interests include single particle mass spectrometry, global energy budget, microphysics of cold clouds, properties of ice and supercooled water, stratospheric aerosol layer and aerosol instrumentation. He earned the Gold Medal for scientific contributions to the third IPCC assessment from the US Department of Commerce in 2002 and he became an AGU fellow in 2012.

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