Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Laboratory for Atmospheric Research

LAR News Spotlight

Meet Shelley Pressley: LAR Alumna, Professor, and WSU's Director of Undergraduate Research

Sept 21, 2016: Voiland College Associate Research Professor Shelley Pressley discusses her love of research, teaching, and role as WSU's director of undergraduate research. View article

LAR Faculty Alex Guenther Named AGU Fellow

PNNL Laboratory Fellow and LAR faculty member (and former alum), Alex Guenther, has been elected to the rank of Fellow in the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Guenther joins the class of 60 scientists being honored by AGU for "exceptional scientific contributions and attained acknowledged eminence in the fields of earth and space science." He is internationally recognized as an expert on the processes controlling chemical emissions from forests and other ecosystems and how these emissions affect air quality and regional and global climate. Guenther's research led to the development of the Model of Emissions of Gases and Aerosols from Nature, or MEGAN, an emissions estimate tool used by most Earth system models as well as by regulatory agencies. View full article

Direct Measurements Show Lower Local Methane Emissions

March 31, 2015: PULLMAN, WA — A team led by LAR's Dr. Brian Lamb has found that methane emissions from local natural gas distribution systems in cities and towns throughout the U.S. have decreased in the past 20 years with significant variation by region. Read full article (see also, article in NY Times)

More information on the study can be found at

Researchers Launch NASA Carbon Observatory

Fall 2014: George Mount, former physicist in the WSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was part of a team led by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to develop the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO), a sophisticated instrument to measure carbon dioxide from space. Read more here and here.

LAR's Sarah Waldo earns National Research Fellowship

Oct 27, 2014: Sarah Waldo, a doctoral student in Civil and Environmental Engineering, will receive up to $42,000 per year for two years to support research into factors influencing greenhouse gas emission and absorption in agricultural fields. Congratulations Sarah! Read full article

Greenland Research Provides Unique Challenges…and Critical Cloud Data

Fall 2014: (by Alyssa Patrick) LAR's Von P. Walden and his team are conducting research in Greenland to characterize polar atmospheres and clouds. With collaboration from several institutions, the researchers are using high quality instruments to develop a comprehensive dataset that can be used to improve understanding of the role of clouds on the climate. Read full article

WSU's new smoke forecast system gets workout

August 12, 2014: The Spokesman-Review — (excerpt) Washington State University research scientists have devised a forecasting model that can predict air pollution. Described as the nation's first high-resolution, Web-based air quality forecast system, it's been getting a workout this summer as out-of-control wildfires continue sending thick smoke billowing into the Pacific Northwest sky. The predictions can be found on the AIRPACT website, which creates forecasts for different types of pollutants, including smoke particles known as particulate matter (PM) 2.5 because of their tiny size of less than 2.5 micrometers. Read full article

NSPIRE IGERT students Sarah Waldo and Julian Reyes selected to attend AMS Summer Policy Colloquium

June 2014: WASHINGTON, D.C. — Each year, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Summer Policy Colloquium brings a select group to Washington, D.C. for an intense, ten-day immersion in science policy. Graduate students, faculty and professionals in the field of atmospheric sciences and their applications form a cohort that tackles hands-on exercises, hears from dozens of prominent experts and forges strong professional networking connections. The Summer Policy Colloquium is a career-shaping experience. By arming tomorrow's leaders with expertise in the policy process, the science community will be more engaged with decision makers, helping ensure that society's policy choices take full advantage of available scientific knowledge. CONGRATULATIONS, Sarah and Julian!

LAR's Graham Vanderschelden, finishes Boston Marathon

April 20, 2014: BOSTON — Graham Vanderschelden, a PhD student in CEE, completed the Boston Marathon with a time of 2:47. Congratulations, Graham!
(pictured below, far right)

Ag, burning, cold nights add up to poor air quality

Apr 11, 2014: (by Tina Hilding) YAKIMA, WA – A new Washington State University study has found that a combination of agricultural emissions, human-based activity – like running car engines and burning woodstoves – and cold, still winter nights adds up to poorer air quality in the Yakima Valley than in much of the state. Read full article

LAR's EPA project on pollen, climate and health

January 2014: LAR's research on pollen, climate, and health is featured in EPA's The Quarterly Planet: Climate and Health Issue Issue (January 2014). The research group, led by Richard Flagan of California Institute of Technology, is projecting how pollen levels and respiratory impacts will be affected by global climate change, finding that pollen season may start five to six days earlier on the West Coast by midcentury. Read more...

LAR at PNWIS 2013

Nov 8, 2013: LAR student Claudia Toro took second prize for the best student oral presentation at the annual conference of the Pacific Northwest International Section of the Air and Waste Management Association in Victoria, BC. Claudia's presentation was entitled, "Photoactive Roads: Assessing a Potential Air Pollution Control Strategy". Conference abstracts can be viewed here.

LAR Students Win Awards at AAAR Conference

Oct 4, 2013: LAR students Courtney Herring and Celia Faiola won poster awards at the 32 Annual American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR) Conference, held Sept 30 - Oct 4, 2013 in Portland, Oregon. Links to their abstracts are provided below:

REACCH Greenhouse Gas Exchange Video

May 2, 2013: This video describes how researchers at WSU monitor greenhouse gas exchanges in cereal-based cropping systems using the eddy covariance flux tower. This work is part of the REACCH PNA research project.

Natural gas methane emissions focus of new study

Apr 10, 2013: PULLMAN, WA – Washington State University's Laboratory for Atmospheric Research is leading a nationwide field study to better understand methane emissions associated with the distribution of natural gas. Read full article

Passing the Smell Test

Spring 2013: (by Eric Sorensen) PULLMAN, Wash. - The act of smelling starts out as chemical detection but often ends up as an emotional trigger. Scientists at the Laboratory for Atmospheric Research tease out the contents of air samples with a proton transfer reaction mass spectrometer and a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer. Read more...

WSU researchers predict air pollution levels

Sept 24, 2012: PULLMAN, Wash. (from - WSU researchers are trying to better anticipate smoky conditions and poor air quality. Atmospheric researchers at WSU are able to analyze the air in Pullman to find out exactly what's polluting it using a program called AIRPACT. Watch video below, or read more.

Brian Lamb doing field work on the methane emissions study
Brian Lamb doing field work on the methane emissions study

Farah Abedin and Sarah Waldo adjust equipment during an atmospheric composition lab.
Farah Abedin, left, and Sarah Waldo adjust equipment during an atmospheric composition lab. [Photo: Dean Hare/Daily News]

Jinshu Chi, a first year doctoral candidate in the Environmental Engineering program, records data from an atmospheric test at WSU.
Jinshu Chi, first year doctoral candidate in the Environmental Engineering program, records data from an atmospheric test. [Photo: Dean Hare/Daily News]

LAR News Spotlight

Civil & Environmental Engineering, PO Box 642910, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-2910, 509-335-2576