Randall Martin Appointed Dalhousie Arthur B. McDonald Chair

Randall Martin Appointed Dalhousie Arthur B. McDonald Chair

December 15, 2016
Dr. Randall Martin, member of ACENET’s Research Directorate, has received one of two of Dalhousie University’s inaugural Arthur B. McDonald Chair appointments. Each appointee receives $350,000 over seven years. The award’s namesake was the 2015 co-recipient of the Nobel prize in physics and honours high calibre researchers conducting world-class research.

With Dalhousie’s Department of Physics & Atmospheric Science (and cross appointed to the Department of Chemistry), Dr. Martin’s Atmospheric Composition Analysis Group (ACAG) uses satellite remote sensing and advanced computer modelling to identify the trends and magnitude of human exposure to particulate matter – tiny invisible specks of sulfate, mineral dust, carbon and other chemicals that travel through the atmosphere.

Dr. Martin’s research group is the only one in the world that has applied satellite remote sensing to infer long-term concentrations of global, ground-level fine particulate matter. Unlike the traditional ground-based instruments for monitoring air pollution that address primarily urban areas, the ACAG is able to paint a more comprehensive and accurate picture of air pollution for geographic regions smaller than 10 kilometres, using publicly available satellite data generated over the past decade from space agencies around the world, including NASA. The group produces a widely used global air quality dataset and collaborates extensively with Health Canada and Environment Canada. It is helping scientists and policymakers understand how chemicals in the atmosphere affect climate change and air quality. The Canadian government used Dr. Martin’s data to develop more stringent and comprehensive air quality standards for fine particulate matter, a major component of smog. His team’s work has also contributed to several high-profile global assessments conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international agencies.

“The High Performance Computing resources offered by ACENET have been essential to our research”, says Dr. Randall.