The research interests of the Cole-Dai lab involve elements of environmental and analytical chemistry as well as paleoclimatology and climate change. Specific interests include:
- Environmental - atmospheric reactions and mechanisms, and human impact on the environment
- Analytical - development of methods and measurement techniques for chemical impurities in polar snow and ice
- Paleoclimatology and climate change - reconstruction of records of atmospheric and climatic environment and of records of explosive volcanic eruptions; volcanic impact on climate and role in climate change
Snow flakes carry much information about the atmosphere. Continuous snow fall and accumulation in cold places such as Antarctica preserve a history of the changing atmospheric environment and of the dynamic climate. The history can be retrieved from polar ice cores. The research program of the Cole-Dai research group, the Ice Core and Environmental Chemistry Lab (ICECL), focuses on measuring trace chemical impurities in ice cores in order to (1) assist with the reconstruction of the chronological records of global climate change; (2) investigate atmospheric chemical processes, and (3) document the human impact on the atmospheric environment. In addition, ICECL engages in the development of analytical techniques and methods to measure trace chemical species in polar snow and ice.