Eric A. Kort

Assistant Professor

Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Michigan

Welcome

The earth’s atmospheric composition is experiencing a perturbation unprecedented in the recent history. Various human activities, including large-scale deforestation, fossil fuel harvesting and combustion, and industrial scale crop fertilization have tremendously upset the planet’s carbon and nitrogen cycles and led to large increases in the atmospheric abundance of greenhouse gases. These changes are ongoing and dynamic. Anthropogenic emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases are undergoing rapid alterations in response to technological, economic, and regulatory pressures. Natural sources and sinks are dynamically responding to the warming environment, with unknown feedbacks. We employ a combination of ground, airborne, and space-based observations to investigate both natural and anthropogenic sources of these atmospheric constituents. We link observations with models probing scales that span from cities to the globe, quantifying and attributing emissions. This leads to improved understanding of carbon and nitrogen cycles which is crucial for future projections of climate and air quality, and is necessary to inform societal responses and mitigation efforts.

News

2017

Congratulations to graduate student Emily Yang for being selected to receive the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship!

Congratulations to Dr. Martin Hoecker-Martinez, who will be starting as an Assistant Professor at the University of Redlands this coming Fall!

Congratulations to Dr. Mackenzie Smith, who will be joining Scientific Aviation this Spring!

Prof. Kort's NSF CAREER proposal "CAREER: Improving our understanding of nitrogen’s atmospheric impact on climate and ozone destruction" has been selected.

Our methane studies in Four Corners receives renewed attention as the work/figure appears in a number of articles and discussions on evolving EPA mandates. Wall Street Journal, KOB 4, NM, Albuquerque Journal, KRQE news 13, Sante Fe New Mexican.

Phys.org news article mentions our work in discussing contemporary methane emissions.

2016

Science news article on conflicting reasoning behind recent rise in global methane includes discussion with Prof. Kort.

First paper from our Four Corners study is published in PNAS. This work demonstrates the use of airborne remote sensing to identify methane plumes at meter-level resolution in a complex environment. We also directly observe that emissions of methane from point sources in Four Corners exhibit a lognormal distribution, where the largest emitters contribute disproportionately to total basin emissions.

Paper led by graduate student John Ware is published in JGR-Atmosphere. Aerosol Lidar Observations of Atmospheric Mixing in Los Angeles: Climatology and Implications for Greenhouse Gas Observations.

Carbon dioxide measurements made by us and others on the ORCAS team show 400 ppm threshold making its way into the far reaches of the Southern Hemisphere, exceeding levels last seen millions of years ago when sea level and temperatures were higher than today.

Paper on ethane emissions from the Bakken shale was just published in GRL, and received media attention, including by the Washington Post, the New York Times, ABC news, and Michigan Radio.

We are excited that Research Assistant Emily Yang will be joining the PhD program this fall.

NASA Earth Observatory article on methane discusses our work in Four Corners and the TOPDOWN flights we led as part of that effort.

Successful conclusions to ORCAS! Excellent work by the whole team to manage flights in such a remote region of the world, and handle wind-evacuations with such grace. We are excited to look at the data in more detail (and sort photos from the field).

ORCAS project is off to a successful start! The campaign can be followed on the field catalog, and news articles are noted here as well.

2015

Paper on methane emissions from the Barnett shale bridging the gap between inventories and atmospheric studies is published in PNAS.

The 2nd post-launch OCO-2 Science Team Meeting was fun and productive- it is a very rich dataset!

We just completed a successful data workshop in Boulder that brought together multiple studies focused on emissions from oil and gas production. We are looking forward to seeing the finalized results that come out of these studies!

Welcome to Dr. Martin Hoecker-Martinez & Emily Yang, who have joined the group.

Prof. Kort gives an invited talk at the Atmospheric Chemistry Gordon Research Conference.

New Mexico Lawmakers reference our study in a letter to OMB Director Shaun Donovan.

Papers from the Barnett campaign are now out in ES&T, including an article led by postdoc Mackenzie Smith pioneering the use of continuous airborne ethane observations for methane source attribution and ethane flux quantification. The article

The team just completed a successful field campaign in the Four Corners region as part of TOPDOWN 2015. 5 aircraft, 2 mobile labs, and 1 satellite!

Postdoc Mackenzie Smith is profiled in an article about the Four Corners study.

Prof. Kort participates in a public forum in Farmington, NM discussing recent findings and the current study. Some media coverage on the forum and the current study being led by Kort and colleagues: KUNM, NPR , KOB, NBC , High Country News , KSL , Al Jazeera America , Weather Channel , Southern Ute Drum , Durango Herald , Tech Times , Headline & Global News , Digital Journal , Live Science , Discovery News , CTV news , Durango Herald , PBS Newshour.

Welcome to Dr. Kimberly Mueller, who will be joining the group as a visiting research scientist from NIST.

The ORCAS campaign was selected- we will be studying exchange of CO2 and O2 over the Southern Ocean in January-February 2016.

Prof. Kort discusses methane in invited talk at the ACS meeting in Denver Reporting Climate Science , Phys.org.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell refers to our work on methane in the Southwestern US in her remarks given at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

We were selected to be members of the OCO-2 science team, with a focus on studying urban carbon emissions.

2014

Josh Gray (collaborator at BU) leads a Nature paper highlighting the role agricultural systems play on seasonal cycles of CO2. The article , Nature news and views , NSF , Science Blog , Tech times.

We have posted a FAQ for our recently published study on methane in the Four Corners area to answer questions and clarify confusion from some media reports. FAQ

Media attention for the Four Corners work: USA Today , Discovery , NPR, KQED , Slate , NBC News , Christian Science Monitor , Bloomberg , Time , The Hill , Scientific American , Washington Post , National Geographic , Climate Central , Huffington Post , NPR PRI.

Our paper on methane in the Four Corners region has come out in GRL, and was featured as an editor's choice.

Our NOVIM synthesis study led by Prof. Adam Brandt was published in Science. Sampling of media attention on this work: New York Times, LA Times, Stanford News, Michigan Daily.

2013

Scot Miller led a study on anthropogenic emissions of methane published in PNAS. Prof. Kort discussed the study on NPR's here & now: link.