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SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program. Additional AOs for the Amgen Scholars program can be found here.

Specific GROWTH projects being offerred for summer 2019 can be found here.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  Greenhouse Gas and Pollutant Measurements in the Los Angeles Basin using Remote Sensing Spectroscopy
Disciplines:  Environmental Science, statistics, geography
Mentor:  Stanley Sander, (JPL),, Phone: (818) 354-2625
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
Background:  Methane and carbon dioxide are the two most important greenhouse gases (GHGs)responsible for global climate change. Megacities are major GHG emitters, accounting for three-quarters of global emissions. There are many sources of urban methane emissions but these sources are poorly understood; locating and quantifying these emissions has a very high priority in current research.
Description:  This project uses a high resolution IR spectrometer on Mt. Wilson to record hourly maps of GHGs (CO2, CH4, N2O), and pollutants (CO, aerosols) over Los Angeles. Data will be analyzed to determine the spatial and temporal variability of GHGs and pollutants. The project involves the use of statistical and meteorological models to understand patterns of emissions in the LA basin and to assist state and federal agencies in formulating strategies to reduce emissions.
References:  Wong, K. W.; Pongetti, T. J.; Oda, T.; Gurney, K. R.; Newman, S.; Duren, R.; Miller, C. E.; Yung, Y. L.; Sander, S. P.; Monthly trends of top-down methane emissions in the South Coast Air Basin from 2011-2015; Atmos. Chem. Phys.; 2016, 16, 9019-9045,

Zeng, Z.-C., Zhang, Q., Margolis, J. S., Shia, R.-L., Newman, S., Fu, D., Pongetti, T. J., Wong, K. W., Sander, S. P., Wennberg, P. O., and Yung, Y. L.: Investigating wavelength-dependent aerosol optical properties using water vapor slant column retrievals from CLARS over the Los Angeles basin, Atmos. Chem. Phys.; 2017, 17, 2495-2508. 10.5194/acp-17-2495-2017

Zhang, Q.; Natraj, V.; Li, K.-F.; Shia, R.-L.; Fu, D.; Pongetti, T. J.; Sander, S. P.; Roehl, C. M.; Yung, Y. L.; Accounting for aerosol scattering in the CLARS retrieval of column averaged CO2 mixing ratios, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos.; 2015, 120, 7205-7218,

Wong, K. W.; Fu, D.; Pongetti, T. J.; Newman, S.; Kort, E. A.; Duren, R.; Hsu, Y-K.; Miller, C. E.; Yung, Y. L.; Sander, S. P.; Mapping CH4:CO2 ratios in Los Angeles, with simulated satellite remote sensing from Mount Wilson, California, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 2015, 15, 241-252,

Fu, D.; Pongetti, T. J.; Blavier, J-F L.; Crawford, T. J.; Manatt, K. S.; Toon, G. C.; Wong, K. W.; Sander, S, P.; Near-infrared remote sensing of Los Angeles trace gas distributions from a mountaintop site, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 2014, 7, 713-729,
Student Requirements:  Required background skills: intro. physics and chemistry, statistics, numerical methods. Proficiency in a programming language, preferably Matlab, Python and/or Igor
Desired skills/courses: familiarity with GIS software and techniques, atmospheric chemistry and meteorology
Location / Safety:  Project building and/or room locations: . Student will need special safety training: No.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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