This proposal is to develop and deploy for the first time lightweight low cost (disposable) multi-species chemical sondes to address limitations in composition measurement capability in the troposphere and low stratosphere. The sondes would incorporate state of the art CO, O3 and CO2 sensors developed by the applicants, and would be launched on standard meteorological balloons flown by National Weather Services (thus providing T, P, RH). The intention is that the sonde be suitable for use in global sonde networks such as SHADOZ and GRUAN as well as for stand-alone use, with applicability to both short term case studies (e.g. transport, chemical processes) and long term monitoring (for example linked to trend detection and climate change). The project will be in four phases: - Development and construction: involving integration of chemical sensors into a sensor module and its interface with the existing Vaisala RS92 and the new RS41 radiosonde systems. - Testing and validation: to be carried out in the JOSIE atmospheric simulation chamber, on simultaneous flights with conventional ozone sondes and in parallel with flights by the NERC FAAM research aircraft. - Field deployment: to be conducted as a) an intensive field activity as part of a larger measurement campaign, and b) regular measurement for 12-18 months. These deployments will be in Malaysia and will be used in studies of the tropical atmosphere. - Data analysis: statistical analysis of composition profiles and comparisons with the NAME and UKCA models to study chemical and transport processes in the tropical tropopause layer (TTL) and the transport of constituents in the free troposphere over Southeast Asia. We have, together with our project partners, the expertise and knowledge to develop and prove these new composition sondes which have the potential to revolutionise atmospheric measurement programmes through their ability to be launched routinely by operational meteorological agencies with minimum infrastructure.
Long-term measurements of the atmospheric composition are required for a full understanding of the effects of human emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants. For historic reasons, the network of observing stations run under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organisation's Global Atmospheric Watch program has some regions which are well studied (e.g. Europe and North America) and some which are not. One region where the observing capability is limited is that part of Southeast Asia and the West Pacific known as the 'Maritime Continent'. In this project, we will work with the University of Malaya and the Malaysian Meteorological Department to develop a high-quality, long-term atmospheric monitoring program at the new field station at Bachok on the Malaysian peninsula. This site is extremely well located for studies of the outflow of the rapidly developing Southeast Asian countries, as well as for the interaction of that air with the much cleaner atmosphere in the southern hemisphere. The Universities of Cambridge and East Anglia both have experience in making long-term measurements. In particular UEA have operated a well-instrumented observing site at Weybourne on the north Norfolk coast for well over a decade. This expertise will be used to develop the existing capability in Malaysia and to design and implement a programme of long-term measurements at Bachok. The focus of the measurements in the first instance will be greenhouse gases, ozone depleting substances, and chemical pollutants. In addition we will be encouraging the involvement of other interested scientists in NCAS Composition, the UK more generally and beyond to strengthen the planned measurement program. A demonstration activity will be arranged in the winter monsoon season when the flow is strongly from Southeast Asia. This activity will have two aims: (i) ensuring high quality measurements are made at the site; and (ii) determine the characteristics of the site and its suitability for the assessment of both global and regional atmospheric composition. Many of the measurements made in this activity will then be continued in to the monitoring programme. It is important to ensure that such measurements are fully exploited, and to this end we will both collaborate with partners in Taiwan and Australia and develop a modelling strategy for the interpretation of the data in conjunction with UK modelling groups including those at Cambridge, UEA and within NCAS. Exchange visits will be used for training purposes and for the development of collaborative interpretive studies (and peer-reviewed publications). Finally, a major scientific conference will be held towards the end of the project, linking in to international programs such as WMO-GAW, IGAC or SOLAS.
The seminal 2012 publication of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study highlighted the relevance of ambient particular matter pollution for adverse effects on public health, ranking within the top ten of non-communicable diseases (NCD) in both developed and developing countries. While much emphasis has been placed on research to better understand and identify strategies to reduce air pollution from key anthropogenic emission sources (e.g. road transport, shipping, household biomass burning), forest fires (also referred to as wildfires or bushfires in different parts of the world) did not get as much attention. Despite the occurrence of wildfires without any human influence, a recent paper researching the loss of life expectancy from air pollution compared to other risk factors at a global scale indicates that only 10% of all wildfire emissions can be classed as 'natural'. Other studies illustrate the complexity and trends in wildfires particularly in South and South East Asian countries. At the same time, most research into modelling effects of transboundary air pollution on public health has to date focused on the Northern Hemisphere, with very little data available to underpin robust assessments of the contribution of fire events on air quality in the wider Asia-Pacific Region (APR). Evaluating the contribution of Fire Emissions to Transboundary Air Pollution and public health risks in the Asia-Pacific region (EFETAP) brings together researchers from the UK, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia to address the critical questions related to the contributions to transboundary air pollution from wildfires and other biomass burning in the region. To achieve this, EFETAP will improve the representation of fire emissions and their contribution in a globally applied and widely used state-of-the-art atmospheric chemistry transport model to determine the scale of the contribution of fire emissions to air pollution episodes in the APR. Secondly, building on a better understanding of the origin and composition of fine particulate matter concentrations in the APR, health researchers will explore the utility of better integrating environmental and health datasets to identify key drivers and potential intervention points for strategies to reduce public health impacts. Finally, EFETAP aims to trial the development of a framework for short-term forecasting of PM2.5 pollution episodes in the APR, providing better insight into the composition and origin of the pollutants driving severe haze events. In order to achieve these objectives, EFETAP brings together an international, interdisciplinary team comprising five academic institutions and two research institutes from 4 countries (UK, Australia, Indonesia, and Malaysia). This new partnership combines existing bilateral collaborations into a strong, integrated team with complementary expertise and ample experience in working across discipline and country boundaries. The strength of this partnership lies as well in the relationships of all partners to the wider research landscape, including close ties with national and international funding agencies and science foundations, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (with its Air Convention, which has laid the foundations for transboundary air pollution assessment globally), the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Environment Programme. The PI, Co-I and project partners are well established and networked, bringing considerable added value and in-kind contributions through staff time and expertise, which will further add to the leveraging power of this new partnership. The project will convene two workshops, one in Australia and one in the UK to engage the wider academic community, research funding agencies and policy makers to ensure that the findings are accessible and taken up by the research community, and informs future international, interdisciplinary funding calls.
Chromonics are a fascinating class of lyotropic liquid crystals. They are usually formed in water from plate-like molecules, which self-assemble into aggregate stacks (rods or layers), which in turn self-organise to form liquid crystals. Chromonics are very poorly understood. Researchers are just beginning to understand how self-assembly is influenced by the interactions between molecules and how the process can be controlled by use of additives (such as small molecules or salt). Moreover, many known chromonic materials are based on industrial dyes, which are very difficult to purify; and this hampered some of the early investigations into phases and phase behaviour. Despite these difficulties it is beginning to be recognised that chromonic systems are far more common than once thought. Formation of stacked aggregates in dilute solution and/or chromonic mesophases at higher concentrations, have been widely reported in aqueous dispersions of many formulated products such as pharmaceuticals and dyes used in inkjet printing. Recently, there has been greatly enhanced interest in chromonics materials as functional materials for fabricating highly ordered thin films, as biosensors, and chromonic stacks have also been used to aid in the controllable self-assembly of gold nanorods. This proposal seeks to develop a novel class of chromonic molecules: nonionic chromonics based on ethylenoxy groups. Here, we will design new chromonic phases demonstrating novel structures (such as hollow water-filled columns and layered brick-like phases), which can be used for future applications. We will also investigate and control the self-assembly process, in a class of materials that can be purified, that are not influenced as strongly by salt (compared to most industrial dyes), where structural changes can be easily engineered by minor changes to a synthetic scheme, and where addition of other solvents can lead to major changes in both self assembly and phase behaviour. We will also use state-of-the-art modelling and theory, which has recently been shown to provide new insights into self-assembly in chromonics, to help design new materials. Here, the use of quantitative and semi-quantitative molecular modelling provides for the possibility of "molecular engineering" new phases. To accomplish our goals for this project we will bring together synthetic organic chemistry to design and make new materials; state-of-the-art physical organic measurements to characterise both the nature of self-assembly and the novel chromonic phases formed; and state-of-the-art modelling/theory to predict, explain and help control the chromonic aggregation.
Depletion of stratospheric ozone allows larger doses of harmful solar UV radiation to reach the surface leading to increases in skin cancer and cataracts in humans and other impacts, such as crop damage. Ozone also affects the Earth's radiation balance and, in particular, ozone depletion in the lower stratosphere (LS) exerts an important climate forcing. While most long-lived ozone-depleting substances (e.g. CFCs) are now controlled by the United Nations Montreal Protocol and their abundances are slowly declining, there remains significant uncertainty surrounding the rate of ozone layer recovery. Changes in the LS may cause delayed ozone recovery or even additional depletion, and can also have important effects on climate. One key uncertainty, highlighted in the WMO/UNEP 2014 Assessment of Stratospheric Ozone Depletion, is the increasing importance of uncontrolled chlorine-containing very short-lived substances (VSLS) which can reach the LS and cause ozone depletion. While significant amounts of brominated VSLS are known to be emitted naturally from the oceans, recent publications also show a rapid, unexpected and unexplained increase in anthropogenic chlorinated VSLS (Cl-VSLS), especially in E and SE Asia. Some of these Cl-VSLS will reach the stratosphere via deep convection in the tropics (through the tropical tropopause layer) or via the Asian Summer Monsoon (ASM) or the E Asian Winter Monsoon. The Montreal Protocol is arguably the world's most successful environmental agreement. By controlling the production and emission of long-lived ODSs, it has set the ozone layer on the road to recovery. However, short-lived halogenated compounds (lifetimes <6 months) have so far not been included, based on the belief that they would not be abundant or persistent enough to have an impact. Recent observations suggest otherwise; calculations in this proposal suggest that Cl-VSLS may delay the recovery of the Antarctic Ozone Hole (to 1980 levels) by up to 30 years. Fortunately, the Montreal Protocol has a regular review process which allows amendments to deal with new threats to the ozone layer and climate, e.g. the recent 2016 success of including limits to the production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). This proposal takes advantage of UEA's heritage in atmospheric halocarbon measurements to obtain novel observations of chlorine compounds in the key E/SE Asia region and in the global mid-upper troposphere. Surface observations will be targeted in the key winter periods when we know that we will be able to detect polluted emissions from China, a likely major emitter of Cl-VSLS globally. We will extend the suite of gases currently measured by the CARIBIC in-service global passenger aircraft to include several newly-identified VSLS. This will allow us to investigate the distribution of these VSLS over a much wider geographical area, to identify source regions and to assess longer term changes in their atmospheric abundance. Our observations will be combined with detailed 3-D modelling at Leeds and Lancaster, who have world-leading expertise and tools for the study of atmospheric chlorine. One model will be used in an 'inverse' mode to trace back the observations of anthropogenic VSLS to their source regions. Overall, the models will be used to quantify the flux of halogenated ozone-depleting gases to the stratosphere and to determine their ozone and climate impact. We will calculate metrics for ozone depletion and climate change and feed these through to the policy-making process (Montreal Protocol) with the collaboration of expert partners. The results of SISLAC will provide important information for future international assessments e.g. WMO/UNEP and IPCC reports.