Co-ordinated Airborne Studies in the Tropics - CAST.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Hertfordshire
Department Name: School of Physics, Astronomy and Maths

Abstract

The unique research capability of the Global Hawk, with ultra-long flights possible in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere, provides a major new opportunity to advance atmospheric science. In response to the NERC/STFC/NASA collaborative initiative, we have assembled an experienced UK team that proposes to execute a research programme covering fundamental science and technology development, which, by working with the Global Hawk, will radically enhance our future research capabilities.

The Tropical Tropopause Layer (TTL) is a crucial region for chemistry/climate interactions. Building on work we have already done in this area , we will collaborate with NASA's ATTREX programme to study the TTL over the Pacific Ocean and South East Asia, with new measurements and analysis. We will address fundamental questions related to atmospheric composition, radiation and transport. The TTL controls the transport of water vapour, the crucial radiative gas, into the stratosphere; we will advance understanding of the role of sub-visible cirrus in water vapour processes. The TTL is also the main route by which very short-lived halogen species, which represent a large uncertainty in future stratospheric ozone evolution, enter the stratosphere. We will improve knowledge of the budgets of these gases and of their chemical transformation and transport through the TTL, including the role of convective transport into the TTL and the subsequent routes for transport from the TTL to the lower stratosphere. Improving representation of these processes in global chemistry/climate models is a key aim.

In order to study these processes, The FAAM BAe-146 will be deployed in Guam in Jan/Feb 2014. It will fly coordinated flights with the Global Hawk which will make measurements in the same period in the TTL over the West Pacific. Detailed involvement in all phases of the collaborative missions with ATTREX will enhance the UK potential for future research using the Global Hawk, including advanced capability in mission planning and methodologies for complex, real-time data analysis. The aircraft measurements will be interpreted in conjunction with ground-based and balloon-based measurements of very short-lived halogen species and ozone, using a complementary group of regional high resolution models, global composition models and a global cirrus model.

We will develop and test two new instruments and new software for the payload/mission-scientist interface, which are ideally suited for the capabilities of the Global Hawk. One new instrument will allow quantification in the TTL of the important physical properties of sub- and super-micron sized particles, allowing new information about clouds and radiation. We will develop a new short-wave IR spectrometer to measure greenhouse (CO2, CH4, and H2O) and other (CO) gases in the lower atmosphere by remote sensing, taking advantage of the very long flights in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. Both instruments will be flight-tested in CAST.

As well as addressing the specifics of this call, CAST addresses the central vision of the Technology theme: "to engage scientists, technologists, computer specialists and engineers working both within the NERC community and outside it, identifying that in many cases it will only be through developing new partnerships that the most challenging innovations in technology can be enabled" (http://www.nerc.ac.uk/research/themes/tap/documents/tap-technologies-2009.pdf). CAST brings new technology expertise in machine learning into the NERC community and strengthens the links between NERC scientists and the technology groups at Hertfordshire and the Astronomy Technology Centre.

Planned Impact

Please see Lead application form.

Publications

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Harris N (2017) Coordinated Airborne Studies in the Tropics (CAST) in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

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Hesse E (2015) Modelling light scattering by absorbing smooth and slightly rough facetted particles in Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer

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Hesse E (2012) Modelling diffraction by facetted particles in Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer

 
Description Our role in this consortium project has been the development of an advanced wing-mounted probe to be carried on the NASA Global Hawk atmospheric research aircraft (and later on the UK FAAM aircraft. The instrument, AIITS (Aerosol Ice Interface Transition Spectrometer) is capable of providing detailed information about the size, shape and concentration of atmospheric particles, such as ice crystals, droplets, mineral particles, and biological particles such as pollens or spores down to micrometre sizes. Such information is critical to improving understanding of cloud radiative properties, the largest source of uncertainty in climate modelling (IPCC).
Exploitation Route The AIITS instrument will provide climate researchers for many years to come with a valuable tool for analysing atmospheric cloud and aerosol.
Sectors Environment

URL http://blogs.herts.ac.uk/research/tag/coordinated-airborne-studies-in-the-tropics/
 
Title AN IMPROVED LOW COST APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR THE DETECTION OF A FLUID-BORNE PARTICLE 
Description An apparatus for the detection of a fluid-borne particle (10) in an optically defined particle sensing zone, the apparatus comprising: i) a scattering chamber (40); ii) a means for providing a sample of fluid (34), containing the fluid-borne particle, in the form of a flow through the optically defined particle sensing zone;iii) A means for generating a beam of radiation (12) through the optically defined particle sensing zone;iv)a single reflector or refractor (14) means having a primary focus (16) within the optically defined particle sensing zone and a secondary focus (20) located outside the beam of radiation; v) a detector means comprising a first photosensitive detection area (26) a second photosensitive detection area (29); vi) a means for deriving area from the radiation detected by the first photosensitive detection area and second photosensitive detection area of the detection means wherein the single reflector or refractor means is adapted to direct radiation scattered from the fluid borne particle passing through the beam of radation within the optically defined particle sensing zone to the detection means located at the secondary focus of the single reflector or refractor means and the optically sensing zone comprises a first and a second zone. 
IP Reference WO2012056217 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2012
Licensed Yes
Impact The particle detection technology developed for the NERC Airborne Particle Classifier project is now being exploited in the NERC Network of Sensors project 'High density sensor network system for air quality studies at Heathrow airport', (Universities of Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Manchester, Imperial, plus NPL and CERC). This project will see more than 70 of the Hertfordshire particle detectors positioned in a ground-breaking project around the perimeter of Heathrow airport to undertake long-ter
 
Description Meeting, Boulder, Colorado, United States, 20/07/15 - 23/07/15, 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of paper entitled: , 'AIITS: Preliminary light scattering data from Tropical Tropopause Layer cirrus' Composition and Transport in the Tropical Troposphere and Lower Stratosphere' to the meeting. The data were the first of their type to be reported and therefore generated significant interest.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation at the XVII International Conference on Clouds & Precipitation , Manchester, UK. 25-29 July 2016. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Review of data recorded by the AIITS instrument and possible interpretations with consequences for climate modelling and ultimately impact on. global warming. Paper presented entitled: 'Characterization of ice particles in TTL cirrus using 2D light scattering. Authors: Zbigniew Ulanowski, Paul Kaye, Edwin Hirst, Chris Stopford, Eric Jensen, James Dorsey, Richard Greenaway, Georg Ritter, Evelyn Hesse, Troy Thornberry, Andrew Rollins, Neil Harris, Martin Gallagher, Sarah Woods, Paul Lawson.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.meeting.co.uk/confercare/iccp2016/
 
Description RCUK at AAAS Conference, Washington 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact RCUK were exhibiting at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington DC, February 2016, the world's largest general scientific meeting. An instrument developed by the University of Hertfordshire was selected by Research Councils UK to showcase British technological expertise at the AAAS. UH's AIITS instrument, developed by the Particle Instruments Research Group in the School of Physics Astronomy and Mathematics, was selected as a primary exhibit. AIITS is a wing-mounted 'cloud-probe' specifically designed and built by UH for under NERC support for NASA's Global Hawk unmanned aircraft to aid research into climate change .
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://cadrek12.org/events/2014/01/15/american-association-advancement-science-2016-aaas-annual-meet...
 
Description Royal Society Summer Exhibition (London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The week-long Royal Society Summer Exhibition was held in July 2014. The NERC 'CAST' project was one of 22 exhibits and occupied a 4x4m stand. On display was a section of the FAAM aircraft fuselage showing how atmospheric research scientists conduct their research, and atmospheric measurement instruments including the SID (Small Ice Detector) probes built by the University of Hertfordshire team. Some 15,000 visitors saw the exhibit over the week, including school children, industrialists, politicians, and the general public.

Major press coverage including TV and radio.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://sse.royalsociety.org/2014