Accessibility statement

Atmospheric Chemists awarded £900k

Posted on 25 January 2012

The atmospheric research group in the Department of Chemistry have had three new grants funded through the NERC standard grants scheme, totalling around £900k.

Ally Lewis, Jacqui Hamilton and James Lee

Professor Ally Lewis, Dr Jacqui Hamilton and Dr James Lee

The first project is a collaboration between Jacqui Hamilton, Ally Lewis, and Professor Dwayne Heard at the University of Leeds, to test current understanding of the sinks for the hydroxyl radical in urban environments. OH is central to the removal of pollution from the atmosphere, but it has proved very difficult to reconcile observations with the abundances predicted by models. This research will use a reaction chamber developed at Leeds, coupled to high resolution GC-MS systems in York, to study how the ensemble of organic compounds in air respond to known fields of OH.  

The second project is a collaboration between Ally, James Lee and Professor Nick Hewitt at Lancaster University, and with the Local Atmosphere division of Defra. This project will develop new technologies which allow for the measurement of regional fluxes of NOx using low-and-slow flying aircraft. Despite multi-billion pound investments in emissions control technologies, trends in NO2 in London are not falling as predicted, and fines of several 100M euro may be applied by the EU if this is not resolved. This project will help resolve whether emissions inaccuracies are responsible and brings also an investment of £120k in new capital equipment from Defra.   

The final project is with Ally’s group and forms part of a multi-university consortium, led by University of Manchester,  studying the impacts of south american biomass burning. York’s role in this £3M NERC project is to determine the organic emissions from biomass burning and how these impact of the generation of aerosols – aerosol which may then go on to change cloud properties, radiation balance and rainfall. The project uses the recently completed aircraft-portable GC-MS system developed by Ruth Purvis and Jim Hopkins at York.