National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences (Directorate)

Lead Research Organisation: NERC National Ctr for Atmospheric Sci

Abstract

The National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) is a world leader in atmospheric science. With an annual budget of £9M we carry out research programmes on: a) the science of climate change, including modelling and predictions; b) atmospheric composition, including air quality; c) Weather, including hazardous weather; d) technologies for observing and modelling the atmosphere. Additionally, we provide scientific facilities for researchers right across the UK to enable excellent atmospheric science on a national scale. These include a world-leading research aircraft, a ground-based instrumentation pool, access to computer models and facilities for storing and accessing data. In a nutshell, we provide the UK academic community and the Natural Environment Research Council with national capability in atmospheric science. We communicate our findings and knowledge for the benefit of policy-makers, other scientists and the general public.

Publications

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Barthlott C (2011) Initiation of deep convection at marginal instability in an ensemble of mesoscale models: a case-study from COPS in Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society

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Bennett L (2011) Initiation of convection over the Black Forest mountains during COPS IOP15a in Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society

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Browning K (2010) Observations of dual slantwise circulations above a cool undercurrent in a mesoscale convective system in Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society

 
Description This is reported to NERC through regular 6-monthly reporting
Exploitation Route This is reported to NERC through regular 6-monthly reporting
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Construction,Education,Energy,Environment,Transport,Other

 
Description This is reported to NERC through regular 6-monthly reporting
First Year Of Impact 2006
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Construction,Education,Energy,Environment,Transport,Other
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Title Aerosol Detection 
Description Aerosol detection apparatus comprises an aircraft having a dielectric member, such as a window (10), comprised in the body (12) thereof such that a surface of the dielectric member forms part of the exterior surface of the aircraft. Detection means (16), such as a static monitor is located on the inside of the aircraft and arranged to detect an electric field resulting from polarisation of the dielectric member. The output of the static monitor, or the rate of change thereof, correlates closely to particle density as the aircraft is flown though an aerosol, such as a volcanic ash cloud. The apparatus is simple and relatively inexpensive, and may comprise any general purpose aircraft. Aerosol particles may be detected and mapped using apparatus of the invention more easily and quickly than by use of devices such as optical spectrometers mounted on dedicated research aircraft, or static monitors mounted on the exterior of an aircraft. 
IP Reference CA2812752 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2013
Licensed No
Impact The invention is being further developed for commercial use on passenger aircraft.
 
Title Aerosol Detection 
Description Aerosol detection apparatus comprises an aircraft having a dielectric member, such as a window (10), comprised in the body (12) thereof such that a surface of the dielectric member forms part of the exterior surface of the aircraft. Detection means (16), such as a static monitor is located on the inside of the aircraft and arranged to detect an electric field resulting from polarisation of the dielectric member. The output of the static monitor, or the rate of change thereof, correlates closely to particle density as the aircraft is flown though an aerosol, such as a volcanic ash cloud. The apparatus is simple and relatively inexpensive, and may comprise any general purpose aircraft. Aerosol particles may be detected and mapped using apparatus of the invention more easily and quickly than by use of devices such as optical spectrometers mounted on dedicated research aircraft, or static monitors mounted on the exterior of an aircraft. 
IP Reference EP2622387 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2013
Licensed No
Impact The invention is being developed for commercial use on passenger aircraft
 
Title Aerosol Detection 
Description Aerosol detection apparatus comprises an aircraft having a dielectric member, such as a window (10), comprised in the body (12) thereof such that a surface of the dielectric member forms part of the exterior surface of the aircraft. Detection means (16), such as a static monitor is located on the inside of the aircraft and arranged to detect an electric field resulting from polarisation of the dielectric member. The output of the static monitor, or the rate of change thereof, correlates closely to particle density as the aircraft is flown though an aerosol, such as a volcanic ash cloud. The apparatus is simple and relatively inexpensive, and may comprise any general purpose aircraft. Aerosol particles may be detected and mapped using apparatus of the invention more easily and quickly than by use of devices such as optical spectrometers mounted on dedicated research aircraft, or static monitors mounted on the exterior of an aircraft. 
IP Reference US20130193978 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2013
Licensed No
Impact The invention is being further developed for commercial use on passenger aircraft.
 
Title Aerosol detection 
Description A new technique for detecting volcanic ash outside of an aircraft has been developed. The key discovery is that when an aircraft flies through volcanic ash an electric field is induced within the aircraft cabin. This field can be detected and used to warn of the presence of ash. 
IP Reference WO2012042242 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2012
Licensed No
Impact Prototype ash sensor instruments are flying on Flybe and British Airways aircraft as well as on the NERC FAAM research aircraft
 
Description Review of Hans Ertel Centre (German research programme) 
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 Deutscher Wetterdienst 19-20 Nov 2012. Review of Hans Ertel Centre (German research programme)


None Known (Data collected in 2012)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Earth System Science Summer School (ES4) 2012 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation workshop facilitator
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The NERC funded Earth System Science Summer School (ES4) took place from 18 to 30 March 2012 at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. The programme was delivered through the shared expertise of partners from the NERC centres and several higher education institutions to 32 PhD students and early career researchers from UK universities, BAS, BGS, NOC and the Met Office. The second week of the programme was delivered in conjunction with staff and students from the NERC Life and the Planet programme.

Lectures, practical activities, computer modelling and fieldwork were used to give participants a broad background in earth system science with topics from earth, marine, terrestrial, atmospheric and polar science. Students spent a day on the Research Vessel Callista at the NOC collecting marine samples for analysis in the laboratory and a day in the field exploring geological aspects of Freshwater Bay and Alum Bay on the Isle of Wight led by staff from the BGS.

Students honed their debating skills on the subjects of 'Adaption to climate change: Impacts-led and vulnerability-led approaches' led by Dr Emma Tompkins and Professor Suraje Dessai and 'Geoengineering' led by Dr Alan Gadian. Dr Mike Dinn from BAS lead an Antarctic research project logistical planning exercise and computer based practicals allowed students to investigate aspects of biological carbon change in the oceans, radiative forcing and climate change.

The students formed a strong community amongst themselves which will be strengthened further through the NCAS / ES4 alumni programme. The event again provided an excellent opportunity for the students to network with researchers, many of whom stayed overnight to talk to them about their work.

The challenging programme was co-ordinated by Sarah Moller and Andrea Jackson from NCAS with help from Dr Stephanie Henson from NOC Southampton. The event received much positive and constructive feedback from both students and staff.

This activity provides new postgraduate students and early career scientists in atmospheric science with a basic grounding in atmospheric science. This is particularly valuable for students and researchers entering the atmospheric science with a previous background in core disciplines such as physics, chemistry and mathematics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Into The Blue - NERC Public Engagement Event - Manchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Into the blue Manchester was held at the Manchester Runway Visitor Park between 25th October and 29th October 2016. Staged under the wings of Concorde, the event consisted of five days of science engagement with a total audience of approximately 5,250 people, an average of over 1,000 visitors each day. Researchers, science communicators, stakeholders and the general public were brought together to bring alive the science we live and breathe.
Into the blue was conceived, funded and managed by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the UK's leading commissioner of environmental science. NERC has an obligation by royal charter to communicate its research with the public and to create a dialogue that can benefit environmental science, researchers, and society as a whole. In 2016 NERC capitalised on its unique opportunity to engage with public audiences by materialising the UK's largest research aircraft at Into the blue Manchester. The FAAM aircraft provided Into the blue with a central motif that brought to life the UK's world leading research capabilities.
Into the blue Manchester offered visitors a chance to tour the FAAM aircraft, attend talks, meet scientists and interact with a diverse range of hands-on science exhibits. Event contributors represented more than 30 universities and research centres across the UK, showcasing the very best of UK environmental science research.
From the outset it was clear that Into the blue was going to be more ambitious than any event NERC had staged before. To measure the success of Into the blue and to improve future events a comprehensive evaluation has been carried out. This has provided insights and metrics to allow NERC to respond to feedback. By engaging with and listening to our audiences we aim to improve future practice.
This evaluation aims to establish how far the Into the blue showcase was able to achieve the four primary objectives set out by NERC:
Make NERC science accessible to the public, stimulating enthusiasm and support for UK environmental science;
Engage targeted stakeholders with NERC science and innovation to create advocates for NERC;
Engage our colleagues to encourage pride in NERC and act as ambassadors;
Create a focal point for broad-reaching mass public engagement via media and social media based on these events.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://intotheblue.nerc.ac.uk
 
Description Media Engagement - Felicity Perry and Zoe Fleming, on BBC North East and Cumbria's Inside Out 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Zoe and Felicity were interviewed for a piece about air quality in York by a BBC team from Inside Out
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description NCAS facilities and services represented at Meteorological Technology World Exp 2017 
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 Representatives from NCAS, FAAM, AMF and CEDA exhibited at the Meteorological Technology World Expo in Amsterdam. We were part of 200 exhibiting companies and organisations at the 3-day event, where 4000 people attended. We spoke to weather and climate related manufacturers, service providers and scientists about the work we deliver via our facilities and services.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Operation Weather Rescue - citizen science project 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Operation Weather Rescue is a citizen science project to digitise lost weather measurements from over 100 years ago. Over 3,700 volunteers have rescued 177,504 hours of weather data from the historic Ben Nevis Observatory so far, and more are continuing to digitise further records. This project is led by Ed Hawkins (NCAS Climate) and Harriett Richardson (NCAS Comms) and has strengthened our partnership with RMetS via Marjory Roy. Operation Weather Rescue results were displayed at NERC's UnEarthed event in Edinburgh (November 2017). Operation Weather Rescue and the subsequent NCAS temporary weather station which was installed on Ben Nevis, led to substantial press coverage e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-scotland-41177662/ben-nevis-weather-records-to-enter-the-digital-age and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-41918646.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/edh/weather-rescue/
 
Description Operation Weather Rescue at UnEarthed (NERC showcase) 
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 NCAS Communications Team, Ed Hawkins (NCAS Climate), Lindsay Bennet (NCAS Weather) and volunteers from Edinburgh and Reading universities delivered an exhibition stand about Operation Weather Rescue (OWR) at NERC's UnEarthed environmental showcase (free to attend) event at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh. 7000 attendees came to the 4-day long event. The NCAS Comms Team designed the exhibition stand, developed engaging animations with the OWR data, created 'make your own weather instruments' activities and installed an outdoor data display of temperature change since the industrial revolution in Scotland.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description The Air We Share - NERC funded public engagement project - Air Quality Roadshow 
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 Air We Share: Summary

The Air We Share roadshows attracted over 350 visitors across three very damp weekends in Yorkshire during February 2017. We met a variety of different people, some wanted to ask questions, some were keen to raise concerns or some simply wanted to find out what the fuss was all about.

Many people were especially curious about how bad the pollution really was in their city, how it affects their health and how they might realistically avoid exposure to polluted air. There were also a wide range of perspectives on air quality, some people were aware of the problem but felt it was out of their hands and others were already taking actions to improve local air quality, equally some people thought that other issues were far more important than air quality.

The Air We Share Lates achieved 43 public visitors across three venues. Atmospheric scientists gave short presentations about air quality research which acted as a starting point for an open discussion between different parties with an interest in air quality.

Over 780 people completed our survey; responses of which will be shared with local and national bodies responsible for taking action to improve the air we breathe.

We had 15 scientists volunteer to deliver The Air We Share, of which 9 were early-career researchers that had attended our 'Getting Started with Public Engagement' training course in January. The course was delivered by an external provider who used The Air We Share as a practical example of a public engagement activity that attendees were encouraged to apply their learning to.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.ncas.ac.uk/airweshare
 
Description The Climate Communication Project 
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 'The Climate Communication Project' is one of six projects funded (awarded £100k) by NERC as part of their Engaging Environments call. This climate engagement project, funded for 1 year, is managed and evaluated by the NCAS Communications Team. Ed Hawkins (NCAS Climate) is also a named project partner. Other project team members are from Climate Outreach, British Antarctic Survey, 10:10, National Centre for Earth Observation, Priestley International Centre for Climate, Royal Meteorological Society, Manchester Metropolitan University and Cardiff University. The project aims to audit methods used and build national capacity in climate engagement. The project has launched a survey, to collect information about how a range of specialists carry out their work in climate change public engagement. The results will be published spring/summer 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
URL http://theclimatecommsproject.org/
 
Description UKESM 'A Model Earth' exhibit at Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 
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 NCAS Communications Team supported the NCAS-led NERC/Met Office UKESM project to design and deliver 'A Model Earth' at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. We developed an exhibition stand, information sheets and delivered training for UKESM staff to prepare them for engaging with members of the public and schoolchildren. The main focus of the stand was to engage visitors with climate modelling and climate change, through the use of games and spherical projections of model scenarios. The exhibition was attended by over 14,000 members of the public, including 2,500 school students. Harriett Richardson spoke to BBC's Click about about the NERC & Met Office climate modelling project, UKESM1: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08y6zyx/click-city-clickers#t=14m30s.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017