There are multiple goals of my research: 1) understand the impacts of nitrogen emissions from agriculture and fossil fuel combustion on surface ocean biogeochemistry, 2) describe the preindustrial surface ocean – lower atmosphere nitrogen cycle, 3) characterize the sources and chemistry that lead to complex atmospheric organic matter in marine atmospheres, and the resulting impacts on aerosol properties that affect health, visibility, and climate, and 4) develop air pollution reduction and climate change mitigation strategies to incentivize economic development along low-carbon energy pathways. All are interdisciplinary in nature, and include components of atmospheric chemistry, oceanography, biogeochemistry, development, and economics.
My work ranges from investigating the chemical composition of complex organic molecules in the atmosphere to the impact of anthropogenic nitrogen emissions on the global oceans to development-first climate change mitigation in South Africa.
Results from experiments designed to simulate photo-chemistry in clouds. Figure 9 from Altieri et al., 2008 Atmospheric Environment showing the ESI-MS-MS of m/z 231 from t=129 minute methylglyoxal-hydroxyl radical photo-oxidation experiments. The two hypothesized structures in the upper right hand corner are based on the esterification mechanism with A) hydracrylic acid and B) lactic acid, and the elemental composition assignments from the oligomer series with pyruvic acid as the parent. The colored lines on the structure indicate the bond that fragments to give ions of the m/z labeled (corresponding color) with the weight of the fragment lost.
How atmospheric deposition impacts the surface ocean. Figure 2. from Duce, R.A., LaRoche, J., Altieri, K. et al., 2008 Science showing a schematic of the processes supplying nutrients for surface ocean primary production.
Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in South Africa highlights that while climate change mitigation is occurring in the energy sector (right panel), unemployment can ultimately be halved by 2050 (left panel). Altieri et al., Climate Policy, In Review