A team of faculty and graduate students at Howard University has spent the last five weeks aboard the Ronald H. Brown, a research ship of the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration. The team, led by Vernon R. Morris director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at Howard University, is study how small particles, or aerosols, in the air coming off the coast of West Africa may impact the weather in the Caribbean and North America. The particles come from dust storms in the Sahara, land clearing fires, and urban air pollution.
Dr. Morris states that “the aerosols often carry microorganisms that can cause disease in important crops and in delicate ecosystems that support thousands of ocean species. Additionally, there is a potential link between aerosols carried across the ocean and a rise in asthma rates recorded in Caribbean island nations in the Atlantic.”
Dr. Morris has been on the Howard University faculty since 1994. He is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta and received a Ph.D. in geophysical sciences from the Georgia Institute of Technology.