Measurements of urban emissions of NOx and VOCs

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Chemistry


This project will, for the first time, link total measured emissions with direct vehicle exhaust emission measurements made within the flux footprint, thus allowing a detailed assessment of the performance of emission inventories and improved inventories to be developed. Emissions are measured via eddy covariance which utilises high time resolution measurements of NO, NO2, speciated VOCs and micrometeorological data from a tall tower site. Eddy covariance has been widely used to assess greenhouse gas budgets in rural/agricultural areas for many years but is more recently being used for air quality pollutants and in urban environments. NOx emissions measurements in London will be made over the period of the PhD at the BT tower in London. In addition, during two intensive filed campaigns in winter and summer 2021, the student will deploy a Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometer (SIFT-MS, Voice 200 ultra, Syft Technologies) combined with Automated Gas Calibration Unit (AGCU) to determine the emissions of Benzene, Toluene, Isoprene, ethanol, methanol, C2-alklyl benzenes and C3-alkyl-benzenes using virtually disjunct eddy covariance (v-DEC). Emission will be calculated via classical and continuous wavelet transform eddy covariance techniques, the latter giving improved temporal information about the emissions.

Footprint modelling links these local fluxes to the surface allowing them to be compared with emission inventories. The work builds on measurements made from the BT tower in 2017 which showed emission estimates from the NAEI being 20-30% lower than directly measured NOx flux, with the greatest discrepancy being on weekend daytime. The measurements are funded as part of the UKRI / NERC funded Integrated Research Observation System for Clean Air (OSCA) project.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/S007458/1 31/08/2019 30/08/2027
2544470 Studentship NE/S007458/1 30/09/2020 31/03/2024 Samuel James Cliff