Zachary Decker

PhD Candidate

Tropospheric Chemistry



NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory
325 Broadway, R/CSL7
Boulder, CO 80305 USA


I'm interested in research at the interface of Atmopsheric Chemistry and Physics.

As a member of the Tropospheric Chemistry group at NOAA, I utilize and develop multi-channel cavity ringdown instruments to measure NOx, NO3, N2O5, NOy, and O3 simultaneously on a one-second time scale. These instruments can and have been implemented on various platforms such as the NOAA WP-3D aircraft, Twin-Otter aircraft, and the NOAA CSL mobile lab (ground vehicle).

For links to publications, presentations, and science communications visit my personal website at


I received my undergraduate degree from New College of Florida (NCF) with a concentration in Physical Chemistry under the thesis advisement of Steven Shipman (NCF) and Leonid Sheps (Sandia NL Combustion Research Facility).

Currently, I am chasing a PhD under the advisement of Steven S. Brown in physical chemistry at CU Boulder.


I am currently investigating the dark chemistry of wildfire smoke plumes. That is the chemistry that occurs without sunlight whether it be after sunset, or in the center of a thick and dark smoke plume. Specifically the reactions, and evolution, of the nitrate radical (NO3) and biomass burning volatile organic compounds in smoke plumes as they are aged and transported. I am studying this system through the data we gathered during the FIREX-AQ campaign in 2019. During FIREX-AQ I worked with the Joel Thrornton group from the University of Washing to operate an Iodide Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer aboard the NOAA Twin Otter aircraft

Currently, I am investigating the dark chemical evolution of smoke plumes. I am using a suite of methods to support this research such as box modeling using the master chemical mechanism and positive matrix factorization.

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

last modified: October 5, 2020