Donald R. Blake

Picture of Donald R. Blake
Professor, Chemistry
School of Physical Sciences
Professor, Earth System Science
School of Physical Sciences
PH.D., University of California, Irvine, 1984
B.S., University of California, Los Angeles
Phone: (949) 824-4195
Fax: (949) 824-2905
University of California, Irvine
570 Rowland Hall
Mail Code: 2025
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Atmospheric Chemistry
Academic Distinctions
American Chemical Society Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology, 2013
UCI Distinguished Professor, 2012
Lauds and Laurels, University of California, Irvine, 2009
AGU Fellow, 2009
AAAS Fellow, 2008
ACS Chuck Bennett Service through Chemistry, 2004
Excellence in Undergraduate Research, 2001
Outstanding Professor Alpha Phi Society, 2000, 2002, 2005
NASA Group Achievement Award, 1993, 1998, 2000, 2006, 2008
UCI Chemistry Department Outstanding Teaching Award, 1979
Bank of America Chemistry Award, 1975
Postdoctoral Research Associate, UCI, 1984-1985
Research Specialist, UCI, 1985-1991
Associate Research Chemist, UCI, 1991-1994
Research Chemist, UCI, 1994-1998
Professor of Chemistry, UCI, 1998-Present
Research Abstract
Atmospheric composition is changing at an unprecedented rate. Our research group identifies and quantifies atmospheric gases (a) remote locations throughout the Pacific region from Alaska to New Zealand: (b) highly polluted cities throughout the world; and (c) areas with special conditions, such as burning forests and/or agricultural wastes, or the marine boundary layer in oceanic locations with high biological emissions. Whole air samples are collected on land, ships, and aircraft and are returned to our laboratory for analysis.

Gas chromatography utilizing flame ionization detection, electron capture detection, and mass spectrometry is our main analytical tool. A three gas chromatograph analytical system is used to quantify about 150 halocarbons, nonmethane hydrocarbons, and alkyl nitrates ranging in mole fraction from tens of parts per billion to 10 parts per quadrillion.

In an attempt to determine "background" concentrations of selected trace gases, since 1978 we have been collecting air samples at surface locations every three months in Pacific regions from northern Alaska to southern New Zealand. Results from this "background" study recently led to our discovery that methyl bromide, a gas that significantly affects stratospheric ozone concentrations, has a tropospheric seasonal cycle. This finding provides an important constraint on hemispheric and seasonal methyl bromide sources and removal processes.

Energy use, principally fossil fuel combustion, in eastern Asia has increased substantially during the past decade and likely will continue into the next decade. Concentration data for samples collected in various Chinese cities and rural areas by group members and colleagues from Hong Kong and Guangzhou will be used to help better constrain emission inventories used in chemical models of the atmosphere.

Since 1988 our research group has been involved in NASA and NSF sponsored airborne projects. The general motivation for these experiments is regional or global change. For example, the 1991 and 1994 NASA Pacific Exploratory Missions-west (PEM-west) were designed in part to determine baseline concentrations of trace gases and aerosols in air advected from the Asian continent. NASA’s 2001 TRACE-P airborne mission flown in the same region and season (winter/spring) as the 1994 PEM provided valuable information regarding changes in atmospheric concentrations of important trace gases. More recently we have flown missions in and around Mexico City, boreal fires in the far north, evaluated the air near and downwind of the Deep Horizon oil disaster, and convective upwelling in the US and the tropics.

In 2001 our group became involved in the analysis of human breath in an attempt to identify gases that might be indicators of diseases. So far we have studied subjects with diabetes (both type 1 and type 2), subjects undergoing dialysis, cystic fibrosis, leukemia, autism.

Graduate students are involved in building equipment, aircraft integration, collecting samples during flights, analyzing samples at our home laboratory, interpreting data, preparing manuscripts, designing sampling studies for various projects, and writing proposals. Each student is also involved in breath studies.
Current Projects Include:
NASA—Ground based latitudinal tropospheric concentration distributions of selected halocarbons and hydrocarbons
Private—Urban volatile organic compound concentrations and their distribution in selected foreign countries
NASA—Airborne VOC studies of inflow and outflow in convective events in the US
NASA—Airborne VOC studies of inflow and outflow in convective events in the tropics
CARB--Determining concentrations of greenhouse gases emitted from California landfills
Breath Gas Studies
NIH—Determining VOC concentrations from human exhaled breath for a variety of medical problems
Available Technologies
"Global Atmospheric Concentrations and Source Strength of Ethane", Nature, 1986, 321, 231-233
D. R. Blake and F. S. Rowland

"Continuing World-wide Increase in Tropospheric Methane, 1978 to 1987", Science, March 1988, 239, 1129-1131
D. R. Blake and F. S. Rowland

"Urban Leakage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas and Its Impact on Mexico City Air Quality", Science 1995, 269, 953-956.
D. R. Blake and F.S. Rowland

"The Atmospheric Residence Time of Methyl Bromide Estimated from the Junge Spatial Variability Relationship", Science 1998, 281, 392-396
Jonah J. Colman, Donald R. Blake and F. Sherwood Rowland

“Acetaldehyde and Hexanaldehyde from Cultured White Cells” Journal of Translational Medicine, 7, 31, DOI: 10.1186/1479-5876-7-31, 2009.
H.-W., Shin, B. Umber, S. Meinardi, S. Y. Leu, F. Zaldivar, D. R. Blake, and D. M. Cooper

“Finding the Missing Stratospheric Bry: A Global Modeling study of CHBr3 and CH2Br2” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 10, 5, 2269-2286, 2010.
Q. Liang, R. S. Stolarski, S. R. Kawa, J. E. Nielsen, A. R. Douglass, J. M. Rodriguez, D. R. Blake, E. L. Atlas, and L. E. Ott

“The Production and Persistence of Sigma RONO2 in the Mexico City Plume” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 10, 15, 7215-7229, DOI: 10.519/acp-10-7215-2010, 2010.
A. E. Perring, T. H. Bertram, D. K. Farmer, P. J. Wooldridge, J. Dibb, N. J. Blake, D. R. Blake, H. B. Singh, J. Fuelberg, G. Diskin, G. Sachse, and R. C. Cohen

“Reduced Methane Growth Rate Explained by Decreased Northern Hemisphere Microbial Sources” Nature 476, 7359, 194-197, DOI: 10.1038/nature10259 2011.
K. F. Ming, S. Tyler, J. Randerson, and D. R. Blake

“Recent Decreases in Fossil-fuel Emissions of Ethane and Methane Derived from Firn Air” Nature 476, 7350, 198-201, 2011.
M. Aydin, K. R. Verhulst, E. S. Saltzman, M. O. Battle, S. A. Montzka, D. R. Blake, Q. Tang, and M. J. Prather

“Noninvasive Measurement of Plasma Glucose from Exhaled Breath in Healthy and Type 1 Diabetic Subjects” American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism 300, 6, E1166-E1175, DOI: 10.1152ajpendo.00634.2010, 2011.
T. D. C. Minh, S. R. Oliver, J. Ngo, R. Flores, J. Midyett, S. Meinardi, M. K. Carlson, F.S. Rowland, D. R. Blake and P. R. Galassetti

“Organic Aerosol Formation Downwind from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill” Science 331, 6022 1295-1299 DOI: 10.1126/science.1200320, 2011.
J. A. de Gaouw, A. M. Middlebrook,, C. Warneke, R. Ahmadov, E. L. Atlas, R. Bahreini, D. R. Blake, C. A. Brock, J. Briode, D. W. Fahey, F. C. Fehsenfeld, J. S. Holloway, M. Le Henaff, R. A. Lueb, S. A. McKeen, J. F. Meagher, D. M. Murphy, C. Paris, D. D. Parrish, A. E. Perring, J. B. Pollack, A. R. Ravishankara, A. L. Robinson, T. B. Ryerson, J. P. Schwarz, J. R. Spackman, A. Srinivasan, and L. A. Watts

“Effect of Hemodialysis and Diet on the Exhaled Breath Methanol Concentration in Patients with ESRD” Journal of Renal Nutrition, 22, 3, 357-364, DOI:10.1053/j.jrn.2011.07.003, 2012
H. J. Lee, M. V. Pahl, N. D. Vaziri, and D. R. Blake

“Long-term Decline of Global Atmospheric Ethane Concentrations and Implications for Methane” Nature, 488, 7412, 490-494, DOI: 10.1038/nature11342, 2012.
I J. Simpson, M. P. S. Andersen, S. Meinardi, L. Bruhwiler, N. J. Blake, D. Helmig, F. S. Rowland, and D. R. Blake

“Exposure to Potentially Toxic Hydrocarbons and Halocarbons Released from the Dialyzer and Tubing Set during Hemodialysis” American Journal of Kidney Disease, 60, 4, 609-616, DOI:10.1053j.akd.2012.02.327, 2012.
H. J. Lee, S. Meinardi, M. V. Pahl, N. D. Vaziri, and D. R. Blake

“Noninvasive Measurement of Plasma Triglycerides and Free Fatty Acids from Exhaled Breath” Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, 6, 2, 2012.
T. D. C. Minh, S. R. Oliver, R. L. Flores, J. Ngo, S. Meinardi, M. K. Carlson, J. Midyett, F. S. Rowland, D. R. Blake and P. R. Galassetti
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