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Texas A&M University
Room 1108 O&M Building
Department of Atmospheric Sciences
MS 3150
College Station, Texas 77843
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Dr. Renyi Zhang

University Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Harold J. Haynes Chair in Geosciences; Professor of Chemistry, College of Science; Director, Center for Atmospheric Chemistry and the Environment

Ph.D., 1993, Atmospheric Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

M.S., 1989, Physics, University of Nevada-Reno

B.S., 1983, Atmospheric Science, Nanjing Institute of Meteorology

Research Interests

Our research has covered a wide variety of areas in atmospheric chemistry and physics and, in particular, the impacts of global air pollution on human health, ecosystems, and climate:

(i) Photochemical oxidation of hydrocarbons emitted from anthropogenic and biogenic sources has major implications for local and regional air quality. We conduct laboratory work to investigate the hydrocarbon oxidation reactions initiated by hydroxyl radical OH and other radical species, focussing on the formation of intermediate radicals and their subsequent degradation reactions. In addition, calculations using quantum chemical and kinetic rate theories are performed to study the structures, energetics, and isomeric branching to assess the preferred pathways of the organic radicals. Our objective is to quantitatively understand the kinetics and mechanism of atmospheric volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and their roles in tropospheric ozone and secondary aerosol formation.

(ii) Aerosols in the atmosphere profoundly impact human health, radiative transfer, weather, and climate. We combine experimental and theoretical approaches to investigate nucleation, growth, and transformation of aerosols at the fundamental molecular level. These include elucidation of the formation of thermodynamically stable clusters from molecular complexes and clusters, the growth of stable clusters to nano- and submicrometer-sized particles, and transformation and properties of submicrometer-sized particles. The chemical and physical properties of aerosols are measured to assess their effects on weather, human health, visibility, and climate.

(iii) We develop state-of-the-art instrumentation to measure trace gaseous compounds and aerosols in the atmosphere. Our instruments have been deployed to study multi-phase atmospheric chemical processes in Houston and Mexico City. Most recently, our team participated in air quality studies in Beijing during the 2008 summer Olympic Games (CAREBeijing-08) and in Guangzhou during the field campaign, the Program of Regional Integrated Experiments of Air Quality in the Pearl River Delta (PRIDE-PRD).  

(iv) Air pollutants emitted from anthropogenic and natural sources are transported in the atmosphere while undergoing chemical transformation, affecting human health, agricultural activity, and climate. An understanding of the chemistry and transport of air pollutants is critical for devising strategies to improve urban, rural, and regional air quality. We employ chemical transport models (CTMs) to investigate formation of ozone and particulate matter and air quality on the urban and regional scales. We also investigate aerosol-cloud-climate interaction using cloud-resolving models and mesoscale models. 

Selected Projects

  • Collaborative Research: Characterization of Sources and Processes of Primary and Secondary Particulate Matter (PM) and Precursor Gases in the California-Mexico Border Region, NSF, 4/1/2010 – 3/31/3012, PI
  • Aerosol Growth and Chemical Compositions from Heterogeneous Processing of Organic Compounds, NSF, 1/10 – 12/13, PI
  • Generation, Characterization, and Atmospheric Aging of Soot Particles from Diesel Combustion, NSF, 9/2009 – 8/2012, PI
  • On-line chemical analysis of ambient organic aerosols, Texas Air Research Center, 10/1/09 – 9/30/10, co-PI with A. Khalizov
  • Surface-induced Oxidation of Organics in the Troposphere (SOOT), 3/2008 – 12/2009, Texas Environmental Research Consortium/Houston Advanced Research Center, PI
  • Investigation of urban and regional aerosol formation and transformation in China and associated climate effects, 7/2007 – 6/2010, China National Science Foundation, PI
  • Chemical Kinetics and Mechanism of Hydrocarbon Oxidation Reactions, 5/2007 – 4/2010, The Welch Foundation, PI
  • Improving the chemical mechanism of aromatic hydrocarbons in photochemical modeling, 1/1/06 – 12/31/07, Texas Air Research Center (TARC), PI
  • Ground-based Measurements of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Nitrogen Reservoir Species during TexAQS II – 2006, 6/1/06 – 8/31/07, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), PI
  • Laboratory Investigation of Mixing States and Optical and Physical Properties of Soot-Containing Aerosols, 9/1/06 – 8/31/09, DOE National Institute for Climate Change Research (NICCR), PI
  • Ground-Based Measurements of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) using Proton Transfer Reaction - Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS), 5/1/05 – 4/30/06, Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ), PI
  • Aircraft Measurements of Highly Reactive Volatile Organic Compounds Using Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) During TexAQS II, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), 12/01/04 – 8/31/05, PI
  • Demonstration of A New Framework for Studying Aerosol Indirect Effect, NSF, 9/1/04 – 8/31/08, PI
  • Laboratory Investigation of Organic Aerosol formation from Aromatic Hydrocarbons, DOE Atmospheric Chemistry Program (ACP), 1/2001 – 12/2004, PI
  • NOx Production by Lightning and its Impact on the Chemistry of the Upper Troposphere and Lower Stratosphere, NASA, 9/1999 – 8/2002, PI
  • Atmospheric Oxidation Mechanism of Isoprene, 06/2002 – 07/2005, NSF Chemistry-Organic Division, Co-PI with S. W. North

Awards & Honors

  • Distinguished Achievement Award – Research, Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students, 2012
  • Fellow, American Geophysical Uinon, 2012 
  • Holder of Harold J. Haynes Endowed Chair in Geosciences, Texas A&M University, 2010
  • Cheung-Kong Distinguished Scholar Award, Ministry of Education - China, 2009
  • Bush Excellence Award for Faculty in International Research, Texas A&M University, 2009
  • Outstanding International Collaboration Research Award, China National Science Foundation, 2007
  • Distinguished Achievement Award for Faculty Research, College of Geosciences, Texas A&M University, 2002
  • NASA New Investigator Award 1999–2003
  • Invited speaker in Atmospheric Chemistry Colloquium for Emerging Senior Scientists (ACCESS), Harvard University, 1993
  • NASA Graduate Fellowship, 1990–1993

Experience

Selected Publications

 

 
College of Geosciences Atmospheric Science Geography Oceanography Geology & Geophysics Environmental Programs Water Degree Program GERG IODP Texas Sea Grant