Co-ordinated Airborne Studies in the Tropics (CAST)

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Chemistry

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 making 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.

Planned Impact

Policy makers, atmospheric scientists and the general public makers will be among the long term beneficiaries of this research. The work relates to two major policy questions; the control of halogenated substances, regulated under the Montreal Protocol, and climate change, the topic of the Kyoto Protocol. Our science will inform the international assessment processes and will be of direct interest to government departments, chiefly DECC and DEFRA.

The general public has a keen interest in global change, in general, and ozone depletion, in particular. It remains extremely important to engage with the public, to provide latest scientific evidence related to these issues, to counter the increasing levels of misinformation being propagated. We will engage with these various groups in a number if ways: through formal and informal meetings, through the peer-reviewed literature and through our web pages. Nearly all PIs give popular lectures on environmental change issues at e.g. schools and will continue to do so. We also often speak to the media.

There is a large number of people in science, the private sector and government who are interested in understanding the capabilities that can be developed for atmospheric observation from UAVs as well as what the potential uses are. CAST will inform and engage with this community in order to share the experience from CAST and to learn from the experience of others. This has the potential to develop a real UK presence in the field of UAV use and research.

CAST will provide career development for PhD students and PDRAs through involving them in the planning and implementation of field campaigns and presentations of results at project meetings, international conferences and in the peer-reviewed literature. In addition all people involved in CAST will learn about the planning and uses for UAVs.

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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Newton R (2018) Observations of ozone-poor air in the tropical tropopause layer in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics

 
Description Measured profiles of very short lived halocarbons (VSLS) from the surface up to 8km. Contributed to data collection of trace gases onboard FAAM aircraft. Collaboration and intercalibration of VSLS with US groups. Contribution to knowledge of VSLS impacts on the lower stratosphere, and to enhanced ozone loss by active inorganic bromine chemistry in the tropical troposphere. Several publications arising and in preparation.
Exploitation Route Findings will be important for the next (2018) WMO/UNEP O3 assessment
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Environment

 
Description Used as basis of Royal Society Summer Exhibit (RSSE) 2014. Developed science show for primary and secondary school children. Public talks.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Education,Environment
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description Chapter 1 Lead Author for 2014 WMO/UNEP Scientific Assessment of Stratospheric Ozone Depletion
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact The periodic "state-of-the-science" assessments have guided policymakers as they strengthened the original provisions of the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer .
URL http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/csd/assessments/ozone/2014/assessment_for_decision-makers.pdf
 
Description Chapter 6 Lead author for 2018 WMO/UNEP Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact The 2018 WMO/UNEP Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion forms part of the quadrennial assessments of ozone depletion by the Scientific Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol. These assessments inform decisions taken by governments for the protection of ozone and climate under the Montreal Protocol.
URL https://ozone.unep.org/science/assessment/sap
 
Description Steering committee member of International Commission on Atmospheric Chemistry and Global Pollution (ICACGP)
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description WMO/UNEP Ozone Assessment Scientific Steering Committee (SSC)
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL https://ozone.unep.org/science/assessment/sap
 
Description Royal Society of Chemistry Outreach Fund Small Grant Scheme
Amount £1,900 (GBP)
Organisation Royal Society of Chemistry 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2014 
End 10/2014
 
Description Royal Society of Chemistry Small Grants for Scientific Activities
Amount £2,000 (GBP)
Organisation Royal Society of Chemistry 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2014 
End 08/2014
 
Title CAST Halocarbon data submitted to BADC 
Description Halocarbon data from Jan/Feb 2014 CAST campaign submitted to BADC 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact papers in prep 
 
Description BBC Podcast - Under the Weather 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Recorded interview on stratospheric O3 as part of BBC Podcast - Under the Weather
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Bootham Junior School Science Week workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Science workshop on atmospheric science for Y6 children
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Co-organiser and exhibitor of Flying Around Storms in the Tropics at Royal Society Summer Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 15000 visitors to 2014 RSSE

1. School teachers asked for materials to show at their schools (we provided a crib sheet for teachers).
2. It has stimulated our research group to participate in other outreach activities. The exhibition was subsequently shown at YorNight (26 sept 2014).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Merchant Adventurers' Science Discovery Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Merchant Adventurers' Science Discovery Lecture is an annual event in York. This event was very well attended and the discussion after the lecture was lively with about 45 minutes of questions from the audience. Several members of the public talked to me afterwards about air pollution.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/events/public-lectures/spring-2020/atmospheric-chemistry/
 
Description RSC Joliot-Curie Conference 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Key-note speaker at the Joliot-Curie Conference on career challenges and key milestones. This is an annual event dedicated to supporting the aspirations of early career researchers, particularly women and those who are underrepresented in academia.

Excellent feedback from the delegates anecdotally (as reported by RSC) and on Twitter
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description School Visit (St Pauls Girls School) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Invited talk and visit, including discussions with pupils, at St Paul's Girls School
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Science show at Naburn Primary School, N. Yorks. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 25 Yr 5 and Yr 6 pupils attended the science show. They asked and answered lots and lots of questions, and in particular we discussed what it was like to work in science and how members of our team became scientist.

Students were interested in science careers and asked us for information.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Summer School on atmospheric sciences (York) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 3 day summer school in atmospheric science for secondary school children, with aims to (i) Help children, particularly girls, and their families identify that science and science careers are for people like them, (ii) Show that a scientific career can offer a supportive and flexible working environment as well as being interesting, (iii) Educate in atmospheric science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk at Science Live: A -level (Birmingham Event) 
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 Talk at "Science Live: A -level" (Birmingham Event) - one of three Chemistry events for A-level students, organised by "Science Live". http://www.alevelsciencelive.net/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.alevelsciencelive.net/
 
Description Talk at Science Live: A -level (Birmingham Event) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact around 1000 sixth formers attended this event, which is aimed at informing their University and career choices.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Talk at Science Live: A -level (London Event) 
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 Talk at "Science Live: A -level" (London Event) - one of three Chemistry events for A-level students, organised by "Science Live". http://www.alevelsciencelive.net/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.alevelsciencelive.net/
 
Description Talk at Science Live: A -level (London Event) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Talk at Science Live: A -level (London, Chemistry Event) to more than 1000 UK sixth formers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Talk at national/regional A-level Chemistry events "Science Live A level" at Birmingham, Manchester and London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact designed for A-level Biology, Chemistry or Physics students to hear scientists who are working at the cutting edge of their specialisms and how science can lead to an interesting career.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.alevelsciencelive.net