Becky Alexander

Professor, Atmospheric Sciences

Becky Alexander

My research group studies how aerosol formation and the oxidative capacity of the atmosphere change in response to both climate change and anthropogenic activities. We aim to answer two fundamental questions in atmospheric chemistry:

  1. How do the formation pathways of sulfate and nitrate aerosols vary over space and time, and what are the implications for atmospheric chemistry and climate?
  2. How has the oxidation capacity of the atmosphere changed in response to both anthropogenic and climate forcing, and what are the implications for climate feedback processes via the impact on the concentration of reduced trace gases (e.g. CH4) that affect the distribution of energy in the climate system?
  3. The main approaches that we use to answer the above questions are:
  4. Measuring the isotopic composition of sulfate and nitrate from aerosol, water, snow, and ice core samples (see our laboratory facilities)
  5. Modeling using global three-dimensional models of atmospheric chemistry and climate (mostly GEOS-Chem)
Areas of Expertise
  • Paleoclimate
  • Atmospheric chemistry
  • Aerosols
  • Stable isotope geochemistry
Courses
  • ATM S 358: “Fundamentals of Atmospheric Chemistry” (Spring 2017)
  • ATM S 451 “Instruments and Observations” (last taught Winter 2017)
  • ATM S 220 “Exploring the Atmospheric Sciences” (last taught Winter 2017)
  • ATM S 212 “Air pollution: From Urban Smog to the Ozone Hole” (last taught Autumn 2016)
  • ATM S 523 “Seminar on Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry” (last organized Winter 2016)
  • ATM S 211 “Climate and Climate Change” (last taught Autumn 2015)
  • ATM S 558 “Atmospheric Chemistry” (last taught Spring 2013)
  • ATM S 520 “Atmospheric Sciences Colloquium” (last organized Spring 2012)
  • ATM S 458 “Global Atmospheric Chemistry” (last taught Autumn 2010)
  • ATM S 340 “Thermodynamics and Cloud Processes” (last taught Winter 2009)
  • ATM S/OCE/ESS 554 “Paleoclimate Proxies” (last taught Fall 2007 with Julian Sachs)
  • ATM S/OCE/ESS 588 “The Global Carbon Cycle and Greenhouse Gases” (last taught Spring 2006 with Steve Emerson)
Awards
  • University of Washington ADVANCE Professor 2005
  • NOAA CGC Postdoctoral Fellow 2003 – 2004
  • Daly Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, 2003 – 2004
  • Invited ACCESS (Atmospheric Chemistry Conference for Emerging Senior Scientists) Participant 2003
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency STAR Fellow 2000 – 2002
  • Participant, AMS/UCAR Summer Policy Colloquium, Washington, D.C., June 2001
  • U.S. Department of Education GAAN Fellow 1997 – 2000
  • McGregory Fellowship in Chemistry, Colgate University, 1997
  • Phi Eta Sigma Research Council Award, Colgate University, 1996
  • WITCO Chemical Corporation Scholarship, Colgate University 1996
  • Lila and Curtiss Frank Scholarship, Colgate University, 1995
Service
  • Member, GEOS-Chem Steering Committee and co-chair of Aerosols Working Group, March 2017 – present
  • Member, NCAR Non-NSF Proposal Review Panel (PRP), January 2017 – present
  • Topical editor, The Cryosphere, December 2016 – present
  • Reviewer for 23 peer-reviewed scientific journals, 12 international scientific funding agencies, Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.4, “Abrupt Climate Change ”, Climate Change Science Program (CCSP)
  • Synthesis and Assessment Product 1.2, “Past Climate Variability and Change in the Arctic and at High Latitudes”
  • Reviewer for high school level textbook on Air Pollution (www.facingthefuture.org)
  • Presenter and Panelist for 15th and 18th Annual Women in Science and Engineering Conference, Seattle, WA
  • Volunteer, Science Club for Girls, Cambridge, MA public schools, 2003
  • Co-chair, special session, American Geophysical Union, December 2002, 2011, 2012
  • Volunteer, Better Education for Women in Science and Engineering, San Diego, CA, 2001 – 2002
  • Participant, AMS/UCAR Summer Policy Colloquium, Washington, D.C., June 2001
  • Member, UC Delegation to the UNFCCC COP-6, The Hague, Netherlands, November 2000
Selected publications