Accessibility statement

Sam Cliff


I'm a PhD student working at the Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Labs (WACL) within the University of York, where I also completed my chemistry undergraduate degree. I spent my Masters year at the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) operating and maintaining the core chemistry suite of instruments on board the FAAM research aircraft, taking rapid measurements of CO2, CH4, SO2, O3 and CO. 

My Masters project involved characterisation of different spectroscopic techniques for their suitability for airborne measurement of CO and improving understanding of ozone production in African biomass burning plumes. Outside of atmospheric chemistry, I am a keen squash player and cyclist.


Masters in Chemistry (MChem)

Research interests

Atmospheric chemistry and measurements of air pollution. I'm interested in using these measurements to quantify sources of air pollution to both improve emissions inventories and understand the success of air quality policy.  

Project title

Measurements of urban emissions of NOx and volatile organic compounds



Leeds York NERC Panorama Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) 

Project outline

Air pollution is the largest environmental health stressor on the UK population with NOx and VOCs playing an important role in this, both directly and indirectly through the formation of ozone and secondary organic aerosol. My project is based on making measurements of urban emissions of NOx and VOCs from the BT Tower in London via the eddy covariance technique. A long-term NOx emission dataset will be gathered and studied to understand the success of air quality policy in London. Urban VOC emissions have in the past been dominated by traffic emissions.

However, successful policy interventions have largely reduced these, leading to an increasing importance of non-traffic related sources from other volatile chemical products. Therefore, additional measurements of VOCs will be carried out to understand these emerging sources and improve the emission inventories used to predict air quality and identify pollutant mitigation strategies. The project is sponsored by a CASE award by SYFT technologies who manufacture the Selective Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometers (SIFT-MS) which will be used for the VOC measurements. 

Awards and Prizes

Whinfield Medal – awarded 2020 for the best overall performance in Chemistry (MChem) at the University of York.

Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratory

General enquiries:

Postal address: Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, Innovation Way, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD