Research Professor

Adjunct Professor, Environmental Sciences and Engineering

(919) 966-2231

Center for Environmental Modeling for Policy Development


Frank Binkowski’s research interest centers on efficient modeling of the behavior of aerosol particles in the atmosphere. Prior to joining the EMPD, he was a NOAA meteorologist assigned to the EPA, where he developed the aerosol component of the EPA Community Multiscale Air Quality(CMAQ) modeling system. Dr. binkowski uses the modal method for representing particle size distributions. This method recognizes that there are several size regimes for ambient particles. This mathematical representation uses a normal distribution for the logarithm of the particle diameters ( i.e. a lognormal distribution). Various sub-ranges of the total population of particles are represented by distinct distributions called modes. The smallest mode contains particles forms by direct nucleation from precursor vapors. This is the nucleation mode. The size range is from about a nanometer to a few nanometers. The next larger size range, called the Aitken mode represents some fresh combustion emissions such as diesel soot as well as particles from the nucleation mode which have grown by particles which have grown from the nucleation mode. The next larger mode, the accumulation mode has the longest lifetime in the atmosphere. These particles may have grown from the Aitken mode, or they may have been directly emitted from various sources. The largest particles resulting from the effect of wind raising dust particles form land surface and sea salt particles from the oceans as well as particles arising from certain industrial processes form the coarse mode. The chemical composition of ambient particles can be very complex. All particle within a given mode may have nearly identical composition, or they may have very different compositions. Finally, particles can interact with ultra-violet, visible and infra-red radiation. Interactions in the ultra-violet can influence photochemical reactions. Interactions in the visible affect visual range, and interactions in the infra-red can affect surface heat flux. All of these processes are amenable to mathematical modeling. The real difficulty is to do it efficiently.


Ph.D., Meteorology, New York University, 1972
M.S., Meteorology, New York University, 1966
B.A., Mathematics, Rutgers University, 1960