Greenhouse gAs Uk and Global Emissions (GAUGE)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Earth Atmospheric and Env Sciences

Abstract

To minimize the risk of dangerous climate change associated with increasing concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHG), as part of ongoing international efforts, the 2008 Climate Change Act requires that the UK reduces its GHG emissions by at least 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. To support such legislation, methods must be developed to reduce uncertainty on existing national GHG emissions estimates and monitor the efficacy of emissions reduction strategies.
In 2010, CO2 represented about 85% of total UK GHG emissions, with the remainder largely from methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). In 2010, the main UK sources of CO2 were energy supply, road transport, business, and residential; the main sources of CH4 were agriculture and landfill with small sources from gas leakage and coal mines; and the main sources of N2O were agriculture, industrial process, and road transport. There are substantial associated uncertainties with sectoral estimates of these emissions, particularly for N2O.
The main focus of Greenhouse gAs Uk and Global Emissions (GAUGE) is to quantify UK budgets of CO2, CH4, and N2O from different sectors, and to improve global GHG budgets. The UK study will focus on fossil fuels and agriculture, the two largest sources of the three GHGs. We will achieve this by combining atmospheric measurements with computer models of the atmosphere, which describe the movement of GHGs after emission. We already have a reasonable idea of where GHGs are emitted but the size of the emissions typically has a large associated error. Depending on the emission type it may also have a substantial seasonal cycle (e.g., agriculture). It is therefore important we make regular GHG measurements at different times of the year and in different places.
The UK research aircraft will provide the broad-scale 3-D perspective on the inflow and outflow of UK GHG budgets, complementing information from existing tall towers. The network of tall towers measure GHGs at 100-200m above the surface to ensure that the sampled air is representative of larger areas, and the towers are intentionally sited to provide estimates of GHG emissions in the Devolved Administrations. As part of GAUGE we will add to this network with a tower in the Scottish borders that provides substantially more information about the north of England, Scotland, and the North Sea; a tower over SE England, downwind of London; and we will support existing instruments on the BT tower in central London. The SE London tower and the BT tower together will allow us to provide the first multi-year record of urban emissions from a megacity. We will use GHG isotopes to improve understanding of the fossil fuel sources. A detailed study of agricultural GHG emissions will be conducted over East Anglia, allowing us to quantify the importance of this sector in the UK GHG budget. Weekly measurements aboard a North Sea ferry will provide constraints on UK GHG fluxes by regularly sampling transects of UK outflow. Satellite observations of GHGs offer a unique global perspective, linking UK emissions to the rest of the world, and we will work with NASA to develop and apply new observations to quantify global GHG budgets on a sub-UK spatial scale. Embedded in this long-term measurement strategy will be a measurement intensive to quantify London GHG emissions, where we will use the UK research aircraft to sample profiles of upwind/downwind air, validate dedicated satellite observations, and link urban measurements with downwind in situ and tall tower measurements.
In GAUGE we bring together computer models of the atmosphere, and a team of world-leading modellers, in order to relate observed variations of GHGs to estimates of the underlying emissions. Statistical approaches will be used to find emissions that best agree with the measurements, taking account of model and data uncertainties. The main outcome from GAUGE will be robust GHG emission estimates from the UK and from the world.

Planned Impact

Policy makers, atmospheric scientists, educational professionals, and the wider general public are among the long-term beneficiaries of GAUGE research. The intertwined science and policy questions associated with Deliverable A focus on quantifying the magnitude and uncertainty of UK and global GHG emissions and sinks. Our science will inform international assessment activities and will be of direct interest to ongoing international research activities (e.g., MACC-II and follow-on, ICOS, InGOS) and UK government departments, particularly DECC and Defra. More broadly, timely delivery of these emission estimates has implications for current UK legislation and nationwide commitments to international emission protocols. We will engage with MACC-II, DECC, Defra, and other potential stakeholders (e.g., private industry) by formal (GAUGE science team) and informal meetings.
We are fortunate that the general public already has some understanding of GHGs, which we will build on with a range of outreach activities using knowledge exchange professionals that already exist with our universities. First, we will establish an online presence, which can be done relatively quickly, with an outward-looking website and its centre. Downloadable educational material, in conjunction with material already available via other sites (e.g., DECC, NOAA, Global Carbon Project), will be available on the GAUGE site. This material will be aimed at secondary school kids, educators, and the wider general public. We will endeavour to make the GAUGE site current by including, for example, updated streams of data from the tall tower network. As the project progresses we anticipate running student projects some of which can write software to allow simple online data analysis (e.g., using HTML5). Past projects have identified the effectiveness of podcasting and we will work with NERC and our universities to organize these - with the breadth and depth of GAUGE activities there should be no shortage of material. GAUGE team members will also develop displays for international science festivals (e.g., Edinburgh) to advertise NERC-funded science, and for museums (e.g., Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh). We will also directly speak to the media.
GAUGE will provide career development for PhD students and PDRAs by involving them in the planning and implementation of field campaigns (including effective deployment of aircraft), presentations of results at project meetings, and national and international conferences, and writing peer-review publications. They will be encouraged to explore measurement and modelling opportunities that will exist within GAUGE, providing them with a well-rounded research experience. We will also engage talented undergraduates through funding tractable and useful summer 10-week projects associated with GAUGE activities, giving them valuable research experience in order to secure PhD placements. This worked extremely well during BORTAS, for instance, funded by a Philip Leverhulme Prize.
We will engage with the academic science community via the usual routes. We will hold regular science team meetings, which will include a half-day when we will engage with stakeholders. From a UK perspective, we will have a presence at NCAS and NCEO science team meetings, and will engage with the Royal Meteorological Society conferences. From an international perspective, we we will attend EGU, AGU, the CO2 conference (June 2013, China), and have a presence on a very large number of international bodies and activities.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description In GAUGE, we have recorded measurements of greenhouse gas concentrations and remote sensing vertical profiles around the UK from the UK FAAM aircraft (ww.faam.ac.uk). Analysis is mature but ongoing and has led to published case studies of greenhouse gas fluxes for the UK and its regions. This has included the development of new skills and methods to calculate top-down GHG flux from aircraft and surface data, including at landfill sites.
We also conducted a major field campaign at a landfill site in Ipswich (August 2014), where we have tested many different techniques for the measurement of surface fluxes of methane. This was a test-bed for their validation and has helped the landfill industry (and its regulators, specifically the Environment Agency) to decide future best pratice by more accurate and informed information, which led to follow-on funding from the Agency to develop drones for the measurement of landfill flux for ergulatory monitoring purposes and commercial spin-out activity, currently under way,
Exploitation Route The developments in this fellowship have already been taken forward into several standard and large NERC and STFT grant proposals (e.g. GAUGE, CANMAM, BIOCOOL, QUANT, The Global Methane Budget, UAS-Methane and others) to continue scientific work on air quality, the measurement and quantification of greenhouse gas fluxes, and numerical weather prediction.
In addition, the development of our drone sampling capability is part of ongoing projects with the Environment Agency to provide a new way of regulatory monitoring of landfill gas emissions. This work also formed part of a policy guidance note and a published Agency feasibility study.
We are also working with BGS and BEIS in the UK to measure baseline concentrations of greenhouse gases and air quality parameters in selected prospective fracking sites to provide a statistical dataset to compare with any potential emissions during various phases of operational drilling.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Creative Economy,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy

URL https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/Grant.Allen.html
 
Description Key findings resulting from GAUGE concern new methodologies and instrumentation for the measurement of greenhouse gases around the UK. Papers and conference presentations (12 perr reviewed publications) on regional scalability of flux calculations (from local to regional scales) are already providing global leadership on how to apply methodologies using aircraft sampling. Together with synergistic activity on other NERC projects (i.e. the MAMM programme and Allen's NERC Fellowship and the Global Methane Budget SPA), we have also developed drone aircraft measurement techniques that we are currently operating in ongoing projects with the UK Environment Agency for regulatory monitoring of fugitve emissions of methane. This also resulted in a policy guidance note and faesibility study by Dr Allen that has been published by the Agency. Dr Allen was also invited to be a reviewer on the DECC Mackay and Stone report on "the potential for fugitive emissions from fracking in the UK" and this has led to guidance on new monitoring techniques for fugitive methane assessment and Dr Allen is working with the Department of Business Enterprise Innovation & Skills in the UK on an environmental baseline monitoring study led by the British Geological Survey to conduct and advise on statistical analysis and local flux methods.for data collected in Lancashire and Yorkshire from 2015 to 2018.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Creative Economy,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Environment Agency Faesibility Study
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in advisory committee
Impact Advice on the potential for use of new drone technology for the regulatory monitoring of landfill gas emissions
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/331683/SC130034_Report.pdf
 
Description Environmental footprint of exploratory hydraulic fracturing in the UK
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact Expert Reviewer on the DECC Mackay and Stone report on "Potential greenhouse gas emissions associated with shale gas production and use".
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/potential-greenhouse-gas-emissions-associated-with-shale-...
 
Description Reviewer of Mackay & Stone report (DECC, 2013)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact As a reviewer, my comments helped to shape the final version of this influential report.
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/237330/MacKay_Stone_shale_...
 
Description Department for Energy and Climate Change - Shale gas environmental baseline project
Amount £250,000 (GBP)
Organisation Department of Energy and Climate Change 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2015 
End 04/2016
 
Description Strategic Programme
Amount £5,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/N015835/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2016 
End 04/2020
 
Description Technology Proof Of Concept
Amount £101,803 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/P003737/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2016 
End 06/2017
 
Title Kriging of aircraft sampling for Langrangian flux calculation 
Description New methods for Kriging of aircraft sampling to enable Langrangian flux calculation, e.g. for regional-scale emissions of greenhouse gases 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Regulatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions for the UK. Air quality monitoring, modelling and prediction. 
 
Title ARIES retrievals 
Description Retrievals of trace gas concetration profiles calculated from infrared spectra recorded by FTIR on the FAAM aircraft 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2013 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Flux calculations for London, the Arctic and the UK for emissions reporting, academic beneficiaries etc. 
 
Title FAAM data 
Description Geolocated trace gas concentrations from the FAAM FGGA instrument and Manchester Aerodyne QCL instrument and other core datasets. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2012 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Improved modelling of the atmosphere, air quality modelling and prediction. Numerical weather prediction improvements. Policy advice to the UK Environment Agency. 
 
Description British Geological Survey 
Organisation British Geological Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Work Package lead of atmospheric composition deliverable to an environmental baseline assessment prior to potential shale gas production in the UK
Collaborator Contribution Part of a broader project tasked with a full environmental baseline assessment. BGS have provided eddy covariance monitoring instrumentation to our measurement site at Blackpool and provide knowledge exchange on broader environmental assessment, e.g. seismic and ground water assessments and monitoring.
Impact Project website (above). Contributions to public inquiry evidence. Multi-disciplinary - atmospheric science, geology, seismology, hydrology, satellite remote sensing, public health.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Environment Agency - UAV GHGs for Landfill flux 
Organisation Environment Agency
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Designed, built and operated a drone for greenhouse gas (CO2 an CH4) sampling in support of regulatory monitoring of GHG flux from UK landfills.
Collaborator Contribution Funding and guidance on development for regulatory uses and commercial roll-out to environmental consultancies.
Impact Allen, G., Pitt, J., Hollingsworth, P., Mead, I., Kabbabe, K., Roberts, G., Percival, C.: Measuring landfill methane emissions using unmanned aerial systems, Environment Agency, ISBN 978-1-84911-367-0, SC140015/R, 2015 Allen, G., Feasibility of aerial measurements of methane emissions from landfills, Environment Agency, ISBN 978-1-84911-329-8, SC130034/R
Start Year 2016
 
Title Manchester Airborne Retrieval Scheme (MARS) 
Description Retrieval package for the calculation of trace gas concentrations from infrared spectra measured by aircraft 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact New measurements of atmospheric composition for air qualuty monitoring, regulatory reporting and numerical weather prediction. 
 
Description BBC Breakfast News Live Interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact News interview on the effects of El Nino and global warming
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description BBC News at 10 - science feature on airborne air quality work during Summer Olympics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact David Shukman (BBC science editor) interview Dr. Allen for a 3-minute science feature on the airborne air quality measurement work conduced as part of this Fellowship for the News at 10, airing 7 August 2012.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Joint NERC-NSF workshop on the environmental impacts of shale gas 
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 Presented at an international academic workshop on cross-Atlantic understanding of impacts of shale gas. Assisted with writing a workshop report in the area of greenhouse gas emissions and air quality.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.nerc.ac.uk/funding/application/currentopportunities/us-ukworkshop/ao-usukworkshop/
 
Description Membership of the NERC EESISE Scientific advisory group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited to join the NERC EESISE SAG to advise on the formation of a science plan for a new thematic programme of research surrounding sub-surface energy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Membership of the NERC ESIOS Scientific Advisory Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited to join the NERC ESIOS SAG to advise on the setup of a new NERC infrastructure facility for sub-surface research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.nerc.ac.uk/funding/available/capital/esios/