Visiting Scientist Dr. Akane Yamakawa Recognized for Enhancing ASMD’s Mercury Expertise

December 2019

ARL/ASMD thanks Dr. Akane Yamakawa for her outstanding support over the last four months and looks forward to further collaborations in mercury research after she returns home to the Center for Environmental Measurement and Analysis at the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Tsukuba, Japan. Dr. Yamakawa, whose research specialty is the measurement and isotopic composition analysis of mercury and other heavy metals in the environment, joined the ASMD staff in College Park, Maryland, in late July.

Dr. Yamakawa’s main objectives included: collecting air samples at ARL’s mercury monitoring sites to determine isotopic composition of atmospheric mercury species; measuring mercury concentrations and/or isotopic composition during the Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality (FIREX-AQ) field experiment to determine emission factors and chemical processing of mercury compounds emanating from grassland and forest fires in the Western U.S.; receiving practical training in the operation, maintenance, and optimization of continuous mercury speciation monitors; and designing and fabricating a custom sampling device to collect gaseous oxidized mercury compounds (GOM) for isotopic composition analysis. She played a key role in several major ARL activities, including installing atmospheric mercury sample collection equipment at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) in Hawaii; preparing and installing mercury detection equipment at the University of Montana in preparation for the FIREX-AQ project; and constructing a custom GOM sampler that will be deployed at MLO in 2020.

Dr. Yamakawa worked closely with Paul Kelley, Xinrong Ren, and sponsor Winston Luke, who noted, “It was a great pleasure, personally and professionally, to host Dr. Yamakawa at ARL. Her keen insights and unique perspectives on the complexities of isotopic mercury measurements benefitted ARL tremendously. While at ARL, Dr. Yamakawa also gained the knowledge and training required to operate continuous mercury monitors. When her institute takes possession of a Tekran mercury speciation system next month, she will be well-positioned to quickly make high-quality ambient measurements with the equipment. Akane’s presence at ARL was a welcome one, and we will all miss her.”

Most of the ASMD staff gathered for a happy hour, or (un)happy hour as the invitation read, after work on December 4 to celebrate Dr. Yamakawa’s efforts and wish her all the best in her future endeavors. We’ll miss you, Akane!

Photo of Dr. Yamakawa. Somewhat close-up, head and torso.
Dr. Akane Yamakawa