Bradford Lin of Kings Point, who attends The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, was named a Regeneron scholar for his project on Evaluating the Effects of Atmospheric Aerosol Loading on Surface Radiation and Cloud Microphysical Properties Over the Hawaiian Islands.
Lin found the internship opportunity in Hawaii, where he conducted the research that earned him a semifinalist position in the 2018 Regeneron Science Talent Search, while searching for interesting experiences through his research program at school.
“I knew I wanted to work in atmospheric science, so I looked into different programs across the nation and reached out to professors,” explained Lin. “The Hawaii trip worked with my schedule and suited my interests, so I chose to do my research there.”
Lin has always been fascinated by Earth Science and wanted to further develop his passion for the subject by conducting original research in atmospheric science.
“I spoke with my mentor, a professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, about current issues that are relevant in atmospheric science, identifying climate change as a topic of particular interest,” said Lin. “Together, we discussed potential project ideas, and I ultimately chose to study the effects of volcanic aerosols from Kilauea on solar energy and climate.”
The high school senior explained the details of his research project.
“My project involved two main components. The first component was to investigate the ‘direct effects’ of aerosols being released into the atmosphere from the Kilauea volcano. I looked at data from 15 solar stations on the Island of Oahu and used aerosol computer models to determine at what point aerosols were in the atmosphere. Then, I used statistical data analysis to compare whether or not aerosols affected the amount of solar energy captured on Oahu. The results showed that the presence of aerosols significantly decreased the amount of solar energy captured at all 15 solar stations,” said Lin. “The second component of my project involved investigating the ‘indirect effect’ of aerosols, which is how aerosols affect clouds. I analyzed satellite data and confirmed that the clouds over Hawaii (which are affected by aerosols from Kilauea) are more reflective than regular clouds, which results in a net cooling effect in the atmosphere that offsets part of global warming.”
Lin conducted his research this past summer at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu on the Island of Oahu. He said that he didn’t physically go to the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island to take data, because the data was taken by machinery, satellites and computer models over the course of six years. Instead, he worked on campus at the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics, doing data/statistical analysis and finding answers to the questions he posed.
When not in a lab, Lin is the editor-in-chief of his school’s science journal as well as the top editor of his school’s online journalism publication. He is also an avid musician and plays cello for both of his school’s orchestras, Lawrenceville Philharmonic and Lawrenceville Collegium, and sings for his school’s coed a cappella group. For the past two years, Lin has played for Lawrenceville’s tennis team and is also part of his school’s Mock Trial team. He enjoys recreational skiing, as well.
Lin was accepted at Stanford University through its Restrictive Early Action program and hopes to study Earth Systems next year in college.
“I’m fascinated by atmospheric science and would love to continue research in this field,” noted Lin about his plans. “As for this particular project, potential future ideas include programming an application that would optimize solar panel placement based on aerosol data in the atmosphere.”