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Project 33 | Isotopic Analysis of Airport Air Quality

Isotopic Analysis of Airport Air Quality

Project Category: Emissions
Project Number: 33

Project 33’s objectives were to:

  • Use a coordinated aerosol sulfate sampling in the vicinity of LAX to measure the sulfate oxygen isotope ratio measurements. These measurements will be used to directly determine for the first time, the aircraft sulfate emissions in this region
  • Determine the regional dispersion of the aircraft emissions and, to use the isotope ratios to distinguish from other sulfate sources that are overlain with the aircraft source
  • Evaluate the seasonal character of the emissions
  • Investigate and develop technique for shorter duration sampling and analysis for future, more extensive campaigns


The analyses will aid in high precision determinations of community exposure attributable to aircraft and other airport sources, a critical question for interpreting local community concerns and for designing future campaigns. The measurements will facilitate and improve the ability of the FAA to make informed regional management decisions from the higher level of impact assessment. The work will also have direct applications in addressing regional health issues and linkage to aircraft and in addressing major airport impacts.


University of California at San Diego
Missouri University of Science and Technology


Mark H. Thiemens; Dean, Division of Physical Sciences; Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California at San Diego, mthiemens@ucsd.edu


Christopher Sequeira, christopher.sequeira@faa.gov


  • Use of Isotopic Measurement and Analysis Approach to Uniquely Relate Aircraft Emissions to Changes in Ambient Air Quality. Mark H. Thiemens. The PARTNER Project 33 Final Report. June 2011. Report No. PARTNER-COE-2011-003. Download (pdf 1.1M)