Sykora, Thomas

Junior, College of Science and Health

Major: Environmental Science

Minor: Data Science

Thesis Director: Mark Potosnak, Department of Environmental Science and Studies

Faculty Reader: Bernhard Beck-Winchatz, Department of Physics and Astrophysics

Bio: Tom is a junior at DePaul University majoring in Environmental Science, with a minor in Data Science. Tom focuses on data acquisition and, in addition to his thesis, worked on a project measuring carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide in ship emissions. In his free time, Tom enjoys hiking and nature walks, and has started learning bird identification. He plans to get more experience in native species identification. Post-graduation, Tom plans on continuing his work in data management and possibly using his skills to branch out to research in different areas of the Environmental Sciences.

Abstract: Measuring plant health is a key aspect in maximizing crop outputs. An overlooked risk to crop fields is damage from stomatal ozone uptake; measuring this uptake is an important tool in understanding crop losses. Here, we propose high-altitude weather ballooning as a cost-effective method for measuring ozone uptake. Ozonesounde data was obtained with weather balloons launched by NOAA in Boulder, Colorado. This data was compared to wind data to determine if wind blowing from over cropfields from the east resulted in increased ozone uptake. While initial results seemed promising, the results were compromised by the complex meteorology and local urban emissions. However, promising ozone concentration patterns indicate the potential of this new method, if performed in a more suitable area. This method would increase understanding of crop interactions with tropospheric ozone and help influence future policy.

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