Rachel Chang

Canada Research Chair in Atmospheric Science

Tier 2 - 2017-11-01
Dalhousie University
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council


Coming to Canada From

Harvard University, Cambridge, United States

Research involves

Studying atmospheric particles to determine their effects on visibility and air quality.

Research relevance

This research will lead to improved visibility forecasting in coastal areas, and aid in predicting changes to air quality in Canada’s Arctic.

Clearing the Fog and Haze

Each year in Canada, approximately 2,000 motor vehicle collisions are caused by reduced visibility, often resulting in injuries and fatalities.

How long fog—and the reduced visibility it causes—lasts is determined by the properties of the atmospheric particles on which fog droplets form. Dr. Rachel Chang, Canada Research Chair in Atmospheric Science, is characterizing these to better understand how fog forms.

Chang’s research will look at what role sea spray created by breaking waves in Canada’s oceans, including the Arctic, plays in the process. As melting sea ice exposes more ocean surface, particles from sea spray are becoming more common during the Arctic summers. Meanwhile, during Arctic winters, particles in the atmosphere originate from pollution in the south. Chang will examine these particles to better understand their sources, and how they make their way to the Canadian Arctic.

Chang hopes her findings will serve as a baseline for studying how increasing industrial activity affects Arctic air quality, and lay the foundation for predicting air quality changes in the Arctic in the future. By increasing our understanding of how fog droplets form, her research could also improve visibility forecasting in Canada’s coastal areas.