Sara Lance

Laboratory and field studies to investigate aerosol-cloud interactions relevant for climate, visibility and human health

The World Within Reach
Sara Lance
Research Associate

Division for Research
Department: Atmospheric Sciences Research Center

518-437 8663
518-437-8758 (FAX)



The Lance Lab conducts laboratory and field studies to investigate aerosol-cloud-chemistry interactions relevant for climate, visibility and human health. Aerosol particles often cycle many times through clouds during their atmospheric lifetime, which can have substantial impact on their chemical and physical properties. Organic compounds are of particular interest, as oxidation reactions of volatile organic compounds from both anthropogenic and biogenic sources continue to be a major, but poorly understood, driver for aerosol mass loadings and regional haze in an era of greater worldwide controls on sulfur emissions.

Learn more via the Lance Research website.


2007, Ph.D., Atmospheric Science, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
2002, B.S.E., Chemical Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Research Experience

2016 – Present: Research Associate (Tenure Track), Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC), University at Albany, Albany NY

2015 – 2016: Research Scientist, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA

2012 – 2015: Research Scientist, SPEC, Inc., Boulder CO

2010 – 2012: Research Scientist I/II, Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Boulder CO

2008 – 2010: Postdoctoral Fellow at NOAA through the National Research Council (NRC) Research Associates Program, Boulder CO

2004 – 2007: Graduate Fellow in the Advanced Studies Program (ASP) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder CO

Research Grants

$29,885 National Science Foundation (NSF) Award: AGS-2025215, 7/2020-6/2021, “Workshop on the proposed Network of Mountain Observatories for Composition of the Atmosphere”

$683,698 NSF CAREER Award: AGS-1945563, 2/2020 – 2/2025, “Revitalizing aerosol-cloud-chemistry research at Whiteface Mountain during an era of chemical change characterized by high pH, water soluble organics and ammonium”

$240,901 New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Award: 81244, 3/2018 – 3/2023, “Whiteface Mountain Cloud Sampling & Analysis”

$24,930 NSF RAPID Award: 1753278, 5/2017-7/2018, “Supporting Cloud Water Collection at Whiteface Mountain Research Observatory: Pilot Study to Assess Chemical Processing of Organics within Clouds”

$30,000 CIRES Innovative Research Program, 2011, “Contact Freezing on Demand: Measurement of contact nuclei with a novel instrument using single droplets levitated in an optical trap”


Pratap, V., Christiansen, A. E., Carlton, A. G., Lance, S., Casson, P., Dukett, J., Hassan, H., Schwab, J. J., & Hennigan, C. J. (2021). Investigating the evolution of water-soluble organic carbon in evaporating cloud water. Environmental Science: Atmospheres, 1(1), 21–30:

Zhang, J., Lance, S., Marto, J., Sun, Y., Ninneman, M., Crandall, B. A., et al. (2020). Evolution of aerosol under moist and fog conditions in a rural forest environment: Insights from high-resolution aerosol mass spectrometry. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL089714:

Zhang, J., Lance, S., Wang, X., Wang, J., & Schwab, J. J. (2020). Estimation of aerosol liquid water from optical scattering instruments using ambient and dried sample streams. Atmospheric Environment, 239, 117787:

Lance, S., J. Zhang, J.J. Schwab, P. Casson, R.E. Brandt, D.R. Fitzjarrald, M.J. Schwab, J. Sicker, C.-H. Lu, S.-P. Chen, J. Yun, J.M. Freedman, B. Shrestha, Q. Min, M. Beauharnois, B. Crandall, E. Joseph, M.J. Brewer, J.R. Minder, D. Orlowski, A. Christiansen, A.G. Carlton, M.C. Barth, Overview of the Cloud Processing of Organics within Clouds (CPOC) Pilot Study at Whiteface Mountain, NY, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 101 (10), E1820–E1841: 10.1175/bams-d-19-0022.1.

Zhang, J., Lance, S., Brandt, R., Marto, J., Ninneman, M., & Schwab, J. (2019). Observed below-Cloud and Cloud Interstitial Submicron Aerosol Chemical and Physical Properties at Whiteface Mountain, New York, during August 2017. ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, 3(8), 1438–1450: