• Director, Center for Atmospheric Chemistry and the Environment
  • Professor
Sarah Brooks


Professional Links

Additional Information

Lab Location: Eller O&M 1105A

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry, University of Colorado, 2002.
  • S.B. Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1995
  • Postdoc., Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, 2002-2004

Research Interests

  • Currently, a poor understanding of particles in the atmosphere and the clouds that form on them limits our ability to understand and quantify global warming. The focus of our research is to develop a better understanding of how natural and anthropogenic aerosol particles influence aerosol/cloud interactions on local to global scales. Using novel analytical techniques, we can observe ice cloud nucleation under atmospheric conditions. Through a combination of field studies and laboratory experiments, we explore how concentration, chemical composition, surface chemical reactions, and shape of aerosols impact cloud formation and properties.

    Recent air quality studies in Texas have shown that chemical and particulate pollutants can travel significant distances and therefore may change air quality and aerosol/cloud interactions throughout an entire region. In statewide air quality studies, we will investigate how urban and rural contributions to aerosols influence aerosol radiative properties, visibility, and human health. Also, by participating in large scale global campaigns, we measure concentrations and compositions of aerosols facilitate nucleation of ice crystals and warm cloud droplets. In laboratory studies, we investigate ice nucleation of aerosols with known chemical compositions. We also explore the chemical reactions occurring on the surface of the aerosols and attempt to understand how these processes alter the aerosols and their role in cloud formation processes.  These combined studies may provide a better understanding of complex aerosol/cloud interactions, and therefore may improve our ability to predict human impact on future climate change.

    • Chemical composition and phase of atmospheric aerosols
    • ice nucleation
    • cloud formation
    • climate and air pollution
    • laboratory and field measurements
    • lidar observations
    • instrument development

Awards & Honors

  • Texas A&M Impact Fellowship, 2017
  • PECASE 2007, Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering
    (awarded by the White House, nominated through USDA)
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2006

Selected Publications

  • 2019

    • Behrenfeld, M. J., Moore, R. H., Hostetler, C. A., Graff, J., Gaube, P., Russell, L. M., . . . Ziemba, L. (2019). The North Atlantic Aerosol and Marine Ecosystem Study (NAAMES): Science Motive and Mission Overview. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6(122). doi:10.3389/fmars.2019.00122

    • Brooks, S. D., Jickells, T. D., Liss, P. S., Thornton, D. C. O., & Zhang, R. Y. (2019). Biogeochemical Coupling between Ocean and Atmosphere-A Tribute to the Lifetime Contribution of Robert A. Duce. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 76(11), 3289-3298. doi:10.1175/jas-d-18-0305.1


    • Brooks, S. D., & Thornton, D. C. O. (2018). Marine Aerosols and Clouds. In C. A. Carlson & S. J. Giovannoni (Eds.), Annual Review of Marine Sciences, Vol 10 (Vol. 10, pp. 289-313).

    • DeMott, P. J., Mohler, O., Cziczo, D. J., Hiranuma, N., Petters, M. D., Petters, S. S., . . . Zenker, J. (2018). The Fifth International Workshop on Ice Nucleation phase 2 (FIN-02): Laboratory intercomparison of ice nucleation measurements. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 11(11), 6231-6257. doi:10.5194/amt-11-6231-2018

    • Mirrielees, J. A., & Brooks, S. D. (2018). Instrument artifacts lead to uncertainties in parameterizations of cloud condensation nucleation. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 11(12), 6389-6407. doi:10.5194/amt-11-6389-2018

    • Li, R.; Tang, Xu, G.L.,  J. Ding, T. Logan, S.D. Brooks, D. Collins, P. Yang, Ping; G. Kattawar, (2018) Laboratory measurements of light scattering properties of kaolinite dust at 532nm, Aerosol Sci. and Tech., doi.org/10.1080/02786826.2018.1444729.

    • Arienti, M. Geier, X. Yang, J. Orcutt*, J. Zenker*, S. D. Brooks, (2018) An experimental and numerical study of the light scattering properties of ice crystals with black carbon inclusions, J. Quant. Spec. and Radiative Transfer, 211, p. 50-63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jqsrt.2018.02.028.


    • Zenker, J. *, Collier, K. N. *, Xu, G., Yang, P., Levin, E. J. T., Suski, K. J., DeMott, P. J., and Brooks, S D. Using depolarization to quantify ice nucleating particle concentrations: a new method (2017), Atmos. Meas. Tech., https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2017-166.

    • Xu, G. L.*, B.Q. Sun, S.D. Brooks, P. Yang, G. W. Kattawar, X. D. Zhang,  (2017) Modeling the inherent optical properties of aquatic particles using an irregular hexahedral ensemble. Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy & Radiative Transfer, 191, 30-39.

    • Xu, G. L.*, Stegmann, P. G., Brooks, S. D., Yang, P., (2017) Modeling the single and multiple scattering properties of soot-laden mineral dust aerosols. Optics Express, 25 (24), A990-A1008.


    • Collier, K.N.* and S.D. Brooks (2016), The role of organic hydrocarbons in atmospheric ice formation via contact freezing, J. Phys. Chem. A, 120 (51), pp 10169–10180, doi:10.1021/acs.jpca.6b11890.

    • Thornton, D.C.O., S.D. Brooks and J. Chen (2016) Protein and Carbohydrate Exopolymer Particles in the Sea Surface Microlayer (SML), Frontiers in Marine Science, 3, (135) pp. 1-14, doi:10.3389/fmars.2016.00135.


    • Steiner, A. L., S. D. Brooks, C. Deng*, D. C. O. Thornton, M. W. Pendleton, and V. Bryant (2015), Pollen as atmospheric cloud condensation nuclei, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 9, pp., doi:10.1002/2015GL064060.

    • Steiner, A. S.D. Brooks, Chunhua Deng*, D.C.O. Thornton, M. Pendleton, V. Bryant, “Pollen as atmospheric cloud condensation nuclei, ”  Geophys. Res. Letts., 42(9), 3596-3602, 10.1002/2015gl0640602015 doi:10.1002/2015gl064060


    • Brooks, S.D., K.* Suter, and L. Olivarez*, (2014) Effects of chemical aging on the ice nucleation activity of soot and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon aerosols, J. Phys. Chem. A, 118(43), 10036-10047, doi:10.1021/jp508809y.

    • Glen, A.*, and S.D. Brooks (2014), Single Particle Measurements of the Optical Properties of Small Ice Crystals and Heterogeneous Ice Nuclei, AS&T, 48(11), 1123-1132, doi:10.1080/02786826.2014.963023.

    • Avzianova, E., and S.D. Brooks, Analysis of nickel (II) in particulate matter by Raman microspectroscopy, (2014), J. Aerosol Science, 67, 207–214, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021850213002152.

    • Deng, C.*, S.D. Brooks, G.Vidaurre*, D.C.O. Thornton, Using Raman microspectroscopy to determine chemical composition and mixing state of airborne marine aerosols over the Pacific Ocean, Aerosol Science and Technology, 01/2014; 48(2):186. DOI:10.1080/02786826.2013.867297. 


    • Avzianova, E., and S. D. Brooks (2013), Raman spectroscopy of glyoxal oligomers in aqueous solutions, Spectrochimica Acta Part a-Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, 101, 40-48.

    • Glen, A. *and S.D. Brooks, (2013) A new method for measuring optical scattering properties of atmospherically relevant dusts using the Cloud Aerosol Spectrometer Polarization (CASPOL) Instrument, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 1345-1356, 2013, doi:10.5194/acp-13-1345-201322415-22449. http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/13/1345/2013/.

    • Hiranuma, N.*, S.D. Brooks, R. Moffet, M. Gilles, A. Laskin, A. Zelenyuk, A. Glen, (2013), The role of chemical composition in ice nucleation during the Arctic spring, J. Geophys. Res, Vol 118, 6564-6579, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50484, 2013.

    • Ma, Y., S.D. Brooks (corresponding author), G.Vidaurre*, A.F. Khalizov, L.Wang, J. Zheng, and R. Zhang, (2013) Rapid modification of cloud-nucleating ability of aerosols by biogenic emissions, Rapid modification of cloud-nucleating ability of aerosols by biogenic emissions. Geophys. Res. Letts., doi:10.1002/2013GL057895. 

    Prior to 2013

    • Jackson, R.C., G.M. McFarquhar, A.V. Korolev, J.W. Strapp, M.E. Earle,  P. Liu,  R.P. Lawson, S.D. Brooks, M. Wolde, M. Freer, The dependence of arctic mixed phase stratus ice cloud microphysics on aerosol concentration using observations acquired during ISDAC and M-PACE (2012) J. Geophys. Res., doi:D1520710.1029/2012jd017668.

    • Hiranuma, N.* and S.D. Brooks, J. Gramann, and B. Auvermann, High concentrations of coarse particles emitted from a cattle feeding operation (2011), Atmos. Chem. Phys. 11, 8809-8823, doi:1-5194/acp-11-8809-2011.

    • Avramov, A., A.S. Ackerman, A.M. Frinlind, B. Van Diendenhoven, G. Botta, K. Aydin, J. Verlinde, A.V. Korolev, G.M. McFarquhar, R. Jackson, S.D. Brooks, A. Glen*, and M. Wolde, Towards ice formation closure (2011), J. Geophys. Res., 116, D00T08,

    • Hiranuma, N.*, S.D. Brooks, J. Gramann, and B. Auvermann, The unique properties of agricultural aerosols: Emissions from a cattle feeding operation, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 14417-14453 (2011), doi:10:519/acpd-11-14417/21011.

    • McFarquhar, G.M., S. Ghan, J.Verlinde, A. Korolev, J.W. Strapp, B. Schmid, J. Tomlinson, M. Wolde, S.D. Brooks, D. Collins, D. Cziczo, M. Dubey, J. Fan, C. Flynn, I. Gultepe, J. Hubbe, M. Gilles, G. Kok, A. Laskin, P. Lawson, P. Liu, X. Liu, D. Lubin, C. Mazzoleni, A. Macdonald, R. Moffet, H. Morrison, M. Ovtchinnikov, D. Ronfeld, M. Shupe, D. Turner, S. Xie, A. Zelenyuk, and A. Glen*, “Indirect and Semi-Direct Aerosol Campaign (ISDAC): The impact of arctic aerosols on clouds,” (2011) Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., doi: 10.1175/2010BAMS2935.1.2011.

    • Hiranuma, N.*, S.D. Brooks, D.C.O. Thornton, and B.W. Auvermann, “Atmospheric ammonia concentrations at an open-air cattle feeding facility,” J. Air & Waste Manage. Assoc. 60:210–218, DOI:10.3155/1047-3289.60.2.210, 2010.

    • Atkinson, D.B., P. Massoli, N. T. O'Neill, P. K. Quinn, S.D. Brooks, and B. Lefer, “Comparison of in situ and columnar aerosol spectral measurements during TexAQS-GoMACCS 2006: Testing parameterizations for estimating aerosol fine mode properties,” Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 51–61, 2010.

    • Brooks, S.D., M. Gonzales*, and R. Farias*, “Using surface tension measurements to understand how pollution can influence cloud formation, fog, and precipitation,”  Journal of Chemical Education, 86 (7), 838-841, 2009.

    • Fornea, A.P.*, S.D. Brooks, J. B. Dooley*, and A. Saha, “Heterogeneous freezing of ice on atmospheric aerosols containing ash, soot, and soil,” J. Geophys. Res., 114, D13201, doi:10.1029/2009JD011958, 2009.

    • Wright, M.E., Atkinson, D.B.  L. Ziemba, R. Griffin, N. Hiranuma*, S.D. Brooks, B. Lefer, J. Flynn, R. Perna, B. Rappengluck, W. Luke, P. Kelley, “Extensive aerosol optical properties and aerosol mass related measurements during TRAMP/TexAQS 2006 - Implications for PM compliance and planning, ”  Atmospheric Environment, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.12.055, 2009.

    • DeMott, P. J., K. Sassen, M. R. Poellot, D. Baumgardner, D. C. Rogers, S. D. Brooks, A. J. Prenni, and S. M. Kreidenweis, Correction to “African dust aerosols as atmospheric ice nuclei,” Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L07808, doi:10.1029/2009GL037639, 2009.

    • Atkinson, D.B., P. Massoli, N. T. O'Neill, P. K. Quinn, S.D. Brooks, and B. Lefer, “Comparison of in situ and columnar aerosol spectral measurements during TexAQS-GoMACCS 2006: Testing parameterizations for estimating aerosol fine mode properties” Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 9, 17465-17494, 2009.

    • Hiranuma, N.*, S.D. Brooks, B. Auvermann, and R. Littleton, “Chemical and hygroscopic properties of agricultural aerosols,” Atmospheric Environment, 42, 1983-1994, 2008.

    • Prenni, A.J., P.J. DeMott, C. Twohy, M.R. Poellot, S.M. Kreidenweis, D.C. Rogers, S.D. Brooks, M. Richardson, and A.J. Heymsfield, “Examinations of ice formation processes in Florida cumuli using ice nuclei measurements of anvil ice crystal particle residues,” J. Geophys. Res., 112, D10221, doi:10.1029/2006JD007549, 2007.

    • Cziczo, D.J.,  P.J. DeMott, S.D. Brooks, A.J. Prenni, D.S. Thomson, D. Baumgardner, J.C. Wilson, S.M. Kreidenweis, and D.M. Murphy, “Observations of organic species and atmospheric ice formation,” J. Geophys. Res. Letts., 31, L12166, doi: 10.1029/2004GL019822, 2004.  

    • Brooks, S.D., P.J. DeMott, and S.M. Kreidenweis, “Water uptake by particles containing humic materials and mixtures of humic materials with ammonium sulfate,” Atmos. Environ., 38(13) 1859-1868, 2004.

    • Brooks, S.D., O.B. Toon, M.A. Tolbert, D. Baumgardner, B. Gandrud, E. Browell, H. Flentje, J.C. Wilson, “Polar stratospheric clouds during SOLVE/THESEO:  Comparison of lidar observations with in-situ measurements,” J. Geophys. Res., 109(D2), D02109, doi:10.1029/2003JD003912, 2004.

    • Brooks, S.D., D. Baumgardner, B. Gandrud, J.E. Dye, M.J. Northway, D.W. Fahey, T.P. Bui, O.B. Toon, M.A. Tolbert, “Measurements of large stratospheric particles in the Arctic polar vortex,” J. Geophys. Res., 108 (D20), 4652, 2003.

    • DeMott, P.J., K. Sassen, M.R. Poellot, D. Baumgardner, D.C. Rogers, S.D. Brooks, A. J. Prenni, and S.M. Kreidenweis, “African dust aerosols as atmospheric ice nuclei,” Geophys. Res. Lett., 30 (14): Art. No. 173, 2003.

    • Wise, M.E., S.D. Brooks, R.M. Garland, D.J. Cziczo, S.T. Martin, and M.A. Tolbert, “Solubility and freezing effects of Fe2+ and Mg2+ in H2SO4 solutions representative of upper tropospheric and lower stratospheric sulfate particles,” J. Geophys. Res., 108 (D14), 4434, 2003.

    • Brooks, S.D., R.M. Garland, M.E. Wise, M. Cushing, E. Hewitt, A. J. Prenni, and M.A. Tolbert, “Deliquescence and efflorescence of mixed maleic acid/ammonium sulfate aerosols,” J. Geophys. Res., 108(D15), 4487, 2003.

    • Brooks, S.D., M.E. Wise, M. Cushing, and M.A. Tolbert, “Deliquescence behavior of organic/ammonium sulfate aerosol,” Geophys. Res. Letts., 29 (19), 23- 1-4, 2002.

    • Prenni, A.J., M.E. Wise, S.D. Brooks, and M.A. Tolbert, “Ice nucleation in sulfuric acid and ammonium sulfate,” J. Geophys. Res., 106(D3), 3037-3044, 2001.

    • Onasch, T.B., R.L. Siefert, S.D. Brooks, A.J. Prenni, B. Murray, M.A. Wilson, and M.A. Tolbert, “Infrared spectroscopic study of the deliquescence and efflorescence of ammonium sulfate aerosol as a function of temperature,” J. Geophys. Res., 104(D17), 21,317-21,326, 1999.