• View from Pisco summit
  • Beautiful views

Volunteer research in Peru

Since 2011 I have been involved in volunteer research with the American Climber Science Program. ACSP is a non profit organization which organizes research expeditions and conducts research in regions which are generally considered to be difficult to access. Over the years, ACSP has evolved and now the Mountain Environment Research Institute has been created at Western Washington University to formalize our program and provide an avenue for students to participate in courses for university credit.

Each year I visit Peru as part of ACSP-MERI activities. As part of this, I have led research expeditions to the Cusco region and the Cordillera Central as well as assisted in ACSP’s annual Cordillera Blanca expeditions since its inception.

Since its inception, I have been leading the project on the measurement of light absorbing particles on glaciers and snow. See the “Black Carbon” tab for more details on this research project. I don’t merely go into the region and collect data. My efforts have focused more on enlisting students and professors in local institutions to expand the measurement network. This has led to the very satisfying result that my Peruvian students are now publishing their research in peer reviewed journals.

Going forward, I am working with several Peruvian students on new projects focusing on air pollution. Air pollution research naturally bridges between my glacier research (studying the impact of air pollution particles on glaciers) to my atmospheric science background.