Atmosphere, Climate & Pollution

Our research in atmospheric composition, including remote sensing and modelling of atmospheric processes from local to global scale, is conducted in an Earth system or “sustainable atmosphere” framework.

Our research focuses on atmospheric composition, air quality and climate, and involves using laboratory, field and modelling techniques to investigate atmospheric processes from plant leaf scale up to the global scale. We use highly-tuned analytical instruments in laboratory experiments and in field campaigns (including on-board research aircraft) to observe and understand the processes controlling atmospheric emissions and chemistry. We develop and use numerical models of the atmosphere to explore chemical and dynamical processes, to test scientific understanding and to give a predictive dimension to our work. Our research delivers benefits by contributing to better air quality policy, to improved understanding of land/atmosphere interactions, and to new options to mitigate climate change.

Lab Measurements

We have excellent facilities for the measurement of the concentrations of volatile organic compounds, including GC-FID, GC-MS (both with thermal desorption) and proton transfer reaction - mass spectrometry (two Ionicon instruments). We have controlled environment facilities for the growth of plants and for exposing plants to pollutants. Currently, we focus on the emissions of volatile organic compounds produced by vegetation, understanding their role in climate/land/atmosphere feedbacks, particularly those involved in surface energy balance and tropospheric chemistry.

Field Measurements

We deploy instruments at field sites during observation campaigns to measure concentrations and surface-atmosphere fluxes of volatile organic compounds from natural ecosystems. We coordinated the OP3 project based at the Bukit Atur Global Atmosphere Watch Station in Sabah, Malaysia, during spring and summer 2008.  We recently coordinated eddy covariance measurements over central London to measure anthropogenic emissions over the city.

Modelling

We use and develop numerical models of global atmospheric composition and climate, including the FRSGC/UCI chemistry-transport model, the NCAR Community Earth System Model and the UKCA chemistry-climate model. We apply the MEGAN model of biogenic VOC emissions in these frameworks and are contributing to the development of the UK land surface model, JULES, and the UK Earth System Model. We also use a range of smaller-scale process models to explore atmospheric oxidation processes and the chemical processing of pollutants in urban environments.

People

Group Leader

Atmosphere, Climate and Pollution, Improving global stewardship, Understanding a changing planet

+44 (0)1524 593931

Atmosphere, Climate and Pollution

+44 (0)1524 593970 B511, B - Floor, LEC 1

Atmosphere, Climate and Pollution, Centre for Global Eco-innovation , Improving global stewardship, Innovation for a better environment, Understanding a changing planet

+44 (0)1524 594330

Atmosphere, Climate and Pollution

Atmosphere, Climate and Pollution, Energy Lancaster

+44 (0)1524 593280

Atmosphere, Climate and Pollution, Innovation for a better environment, Sustainable Catchments

+44 (0)1524 594715 LG526c, Lower Ground, LEC 1

Atmosphere, Climate and Pollution, Improving global stewardship, Understanding a changing planet

+44 (0)1524 594871 B508, B - Floor, LEC 1 & 2

Atmosphere, Climate and Pollution, Improving global stewardship, Understanding a changing planet

+44 (0)1524 510522 B33, B - Floor, LEC lll

Publications

Projects

Systematic Mapping Methods for Chemical Risk Assessment
02/01/2017 → …
Research

Air Quality Impacts of Land-Atmosphere Interactions
03/10/2016 → 01/10/2021
Research

AIRPRO - Air Pollution Processes in Beijing
31/01/2016 → 30/07/2018
Research

Sources and Emissions of Air Pollutants in Beijing (AIRPOLL-Beijing)
01/01/2016 → 31/12/2019
Research

Chappell - CWC Extension Grant
01/10/2014 → 31/03/2015
Research

Integrated Land Ecosystem-Atmosphere Processes Study Early Career Scientists Network
01/01/2014 → …
Other

Systematic Review Methods for Chemical Risk Assessment
09/10/2013 → …
Research

Biogenic Emissions Modelling Review
15/05/2013 → 14/07/2013
Research

Southern Oxidant and Aerosols Study
01/05/2013 → …
Research

Atmospheric Chemistry in the Earth System (ACITES) Network
01/02/2013 → 31/01/2015
Research

Airborne Measurements of Ozone Precursor Fluxes
17/11/2012 → 16/11/2014
Research

Trace gas emissions from Amazonia influence secondary organic aerosol (CLAIRE UK)
01/10/2012 → 31/03/2016
Research

ERDF funded Centre for Global Eco-Innovation: Recovery, Reuse and Sustainable Treatment of Glycol Contaminated Surface Water Run-off at Airports.
30/09/2012 → …
Research

Breathe Easier: Adaptation of Passive directional air-pollution sampler
01/09/2012 → …
Research

Diversity in Upland Rivers for Ecosystem Service Sustainability - DURESS
01/05/2012 → 30/06/2016
Research

Chinese Academy of Sciences Collaboration
01/04/2012 → 31/03/2018
Research

Canopy Exchange Model Intercomparison Project
01/01/2012 → …
Other

Students Careers and Alumni Experiences
01/01/2012 → 31/01/2013
Other

CASE: On line detection and diagnosis of plant damage and stress by herbivores and pathogens
01/10/2011 → …
Research

FP7: Intasense: Intagrated air quality sensor for energy efficent Enviromental control
01/10/2011 → 30/09/2014
Research

Exploring and Expanding the Student Experience
03/11/2010 → 01/10/2011
Research

Atmospheric Composition and Air Quality Modelling in China
01/07/2010 → …
Other

Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Model Intercomparison Project
20/06/2009 → …
Research

Arctic Health Risks: Impacts on Health in the Arctic & Europe due to Climate-induced changes in Contaminant cycling
01/06/2009 → 31/01/2014
Research

NCAS Weather: The role of mid-latitude cyclones in transport of air pollutants
01/02/2009 → 30/04/2017
Research

Sustainable regeneration: From evidence based urban futures to implementation
01/05/2008 → 30/04/2012
Research

NERC 'ArcPOP' NE/E00511X/1
01/02/2008 → 31/01/2011
Other

Exploratory use of mobile phone technology to assess the impact of traffic related air pollution on children on the journey to school.
01/01/2007 → 31/12/2009
Research

Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution
01/01/2004 → …
Research

Research Highlights

Making chemicals safer
Elevating the literature review to the status of a science has won PhD student Paul Whaley Lancaster University's ‘Impactful Researcher’ Enterprise Award

Pesticide dust danger in Pakistan
Residents and workers in a major Pakistan city are exposed to harmful levels of pesticides, new research reveals

Intensive biofuel planting poses risk to human health
A new study, led by Professor Nick Hewitt of Lancaster University, examined changes in ground level ozone in response to projected land use change associated with future biofuel cultivation.

Enhancing evidence-based risk assessment of chemicals
Dr Crispin Halsall argues that systematic reviews, commonly practised in the world of medicine, could be equally useful in assessing the safety of chemicals. 

Directional passive air quality samplers
Industrial sites and highways could become cleaner in the future thanks to shark-shaped samplers that hunt ‘fugitive’ air pollutants.

Extreme weather - how science can influence policy
Lancaster PhD student, Joe Acton, spent three months working in the Royal Society seeing how the UKs top scientists try to ensure their work influences policy.

Human exposure to toxic pollutants in Sierra Leone
PhD student Alhaji Ibrahim Sankoh meets scavengers living on waste dumps and farm workers working with dangerous pesticides while researching the damage caused by widespread chemical contamination on the people and environment of his homeland. 

The Green Ocean
PhD student Amy Valach, recently returned from her first visit to the tropics, describes a research project which is measuring trace gas emissions from pristine forest and her first encounters with Amazonian wildlife. 

Pollutants threaten marine life
Dr Crispin Halsall talks to the BBC's Share Planet programme about the impact of chemical pollutants on marine mammals and ocean wildlife.

LEC academic presents to UN panel
Professor Nigel Paul provides an assessment of the effects of ozone depletion to World governments and, a few days later, discusses the issue with his Lancaster students.  Nigel Paul presents to UN on Ozone depletion.

Change you can believe in
Dr Paul Young, a contributing author for the recent International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, explains how the IPCC compiles its reports and explores the report's conclusions.

LEC contributes to UN climate report
Two Lancaster Environment Centre scientists’ work on modelling atmospheric ozone is included in the new report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

LEC researchers advise government on models of UK air quality
Lancaster Environment Centre researchers are advising the government on how the emissions of volatile organic compounds from the terrestrial biosphere should be treated in models of air quality in the UK.

Watching the forests breathe
Researchers measuring compounds high above the Amazonian canopy are exploring how the rainforest and atmosphere interact.

Pollution test flights launched
Scientists from Lancaster University are taking part in low-level flights over London to measure the emission rates of a range of air pollutants from the city.

Biofuel cultivation could harm human health
Large-scale cultivation of biofuels in Europe could lead to increased human mortality and crop losses according to research from the Lancaster Environment Centre.

Enhancing evidence-based risk assessment of chemicals
Dr Crispin Halsall argues that systematic reviews, commonly practised in the world of medicine, could be equally useful in assessing the safety of chemicals. 

Researching human exposure to pollutants in Sierra Leone
PhD student Alhaji Ibrahim Sankoh meets scavengers living on waste dumps and farm workers working with dangerous pesticides while researching the damage caused by widespread chemical contamination on the people and environment of his homeland.