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The Atmospheric Physics Laboratory (LFA) investigates the properties of the atmosphere. We especially study the life cycle of aerosols and clouds, and how they may be affected by human activities. We do this in urban areas like São Paulo, looking at issues associated with urban pollution, and in the Amazon, looking at issues linked to global climate change. For this, we operate several experimental sites where we measure optical, physical, and chemical properties of the atmosphere. We also collect filters with particulate matter for specific laboratory analysis. Our research projects have many international and national partnerships, including NASA, the Max Planck Institute, Harvard, Stockholm and Lille Universities, INPA, INPE and several Brazilian universities.

Briefly, the group has been developing the following research:

1. Global Climate Change:

We study relevant processes that influence the Earth's radiative balance by changing the radiation flux, such as changes in land use in the Amazon, transport of burned aerosols, and greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Natural aerosols in the Amazon

We study the life cycle of natural aerosols in the Amazon. We seek to understand how the forest emits volatile organic compounds, which produce aerosol particles, which serve as condensation nuclei, allowing it to rain. Our main experimental site is the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO), a unique laboratory in tropical regions, with a 325 m tower in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, where we also measure cloud properties.

3. Aerosols of burning in the Amazon.'

Emissions from burning in the Amazon have important implications for regional and global climate and the health of the region's population. We use experimental sites in the Amazon to characterize burn aerosols and understand their effects on climate and health. In partnership with the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, we study the large-scale transportation of aerosols and gases emitted from burning. We use the WRF-Chem model to study transport processes from the Amazon to other regions of South America.

4. Water vapor, clouds and convection

We study the transport of water vapor from the Amazon rainforest from evapotranspiration to other regions of the continent where it can contribute to precipitation. We use tools such as complex networks and artificial intelligence to analyze how deforestation and climate change can affect this important ecosystem service. We also use remote sensing to investigate the relationship between water vapor and cloud formation in the Amazon.

5. Interactions between cloud aerosols and precipitation

We investigated how natural and anthropogenic aerosols influence cloud formation mechanisms and precipitation in the Amazon. We use remote sensing techniques from ground and satellites, as well as in-situ aircraft measurements to study how aerosols alter the microphysical properties of clouds. We also use numerical models such as BRAMS and WRF-Chem to simulate the impact of aerosols on clouds and to study physical processes that cannot be measured directly.

6. Urban air pollution.'

We study urban air pollution in several Brazilian cities. We have developed models that quantify aerosol sources and their atmospheric processes. We also investigated the relationship between pollution levels and their effects on population health. Another approach is the study that investigates meteorology and air mass circulation over metropolitan areas and the dispersion of pollutants.

For more information about LFA please contact Prof. Alexandre Lima Correia, Prof. Henrique de Melo Jorge Barbosa or Prof. Paulo Eduardo Artaxo Netto.