Carlton Receives 2017 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award

Annmarie Carlton will receive the 2017 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award recognizes research contributions by “exceptional mid-career (academic, government, and private sector) scientists in the fields of atmospheric and climate sciences.”

Citation for Annmarie Carlton

“For fundamental advances in the aqueous phase chemistry of particles, clouds, and fogs to understand the formation of secondary organic aerosols”

Annmarie Carlton has pioneered our understanding of aqueous phase reactions leading to the formation of secondary organic aerosols (SOA). Early in her career, she performed seminal experimental studies showing that pyruvic acid is oxidized by OH in the aqueous phase to generate much lower volatility acids that remain in the particle phase when the water evaporates. This, together with the fact that pyruvic acid is formed from the aqueous phase oxidation of methylglyoxal, a gas phase product from a large variety of organics, meant that aqueous processes might lead to important new sources of SOA. She also showed that the inclusion of these reactions in models could bring models and field measurements into agreement in conditions with high relative humidity. Furthermore, she led a major collaborative field study called the Southern Oxidant and Aerosol Study (SOAS), which is an exceptional achievement at this stage in her career.

Annmarie has over 45 peer-reviewed articles in leading atmospheric chemistry journals. She has taken on a variety of service positions, in addition to leading the SOAS field campaign. Her colleagues describe her as engaging and energetic, with superb leadership skills. These are the qualities of someone who will influence our science for years to come.

On behalf of the AGU Atmospheric Sciences section, I am pleased to present a 2017 Ascent Award to Prof. Annmarie Carlton.

—Joyce E. Penner, President, Atmospheric Sciences Section, AGU


Thank you very much for the kind citation and honor. I had the remarkable good fortune of landing in the supportive atmospheric science community. I am truly delighted to be recognized and receive this distinction. I am extremely thankful to the nominators and selection committee for the time spent and interruption to their busy schedules.

When Barb Turpin first introduced me to the idea that particles could form in the atmosphere from organic chemistry in clouds, it seemed like magic to me. It turns out that getting to play a role in the community’s discovery of evidence was, in fact, magical.

The Southern Oxidant and Aerosol Study is an excellent example of what my research community accomplishes when we come together. I am indebted to many prominent scientists, the original coalition of the willing, Jose Jimenez, Ron Cohen, Allen Goldstein, Paul Shepson, Joost de Gouw, Paul Wennberg, Alex Guenther, Rob Pinder, and my encouraging friends and mentors. In my mind’s eye I see you all clearly at the first SOAS discussions in the hallways and mezzanine at the AGU Fall Meeting. In many ways I accept the Ascent Award on behalf of you.

Finally, a special shout out to my children, Reilly and Reese Carlton. Time not spent with you had better be worthwhile. Thoughts of you inspire me to do good science, communicate it well, and be a better human.

—Annmarie Carlton, University of California, Irvine