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Centre for Atmospheric Science

NCAS Composition

Part of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), the composition directorate is designed to strategically underpin at a national level ongoing research into aspects of the atmosphere relating to its chemical composition and the processes that govern it. This covers areas such as oxidants, aerosols, urban air quality and organics and is lead by Dr Alastair Lewis at the university of York. The SEAES Centre for Atmospheric Science has two postdoctoral researchers employed by NCAS-Composition full time.

The aerosol measurement post (currently held by James Allan) is designed to address issues associated with the measurement of atmospheric aerosols. This includes performing atmospheric measurements in certain key areas designed to address current areas where understanding is limited (e.g. organic aerosol transformation, megacity emissions, anthropogenic emission profiling). It also includes support for measurements and interpretation during field projects, ensuring that data coverage for aerosol measurements is as complete as is required and is of the highest possible quality. Additionally, development of new measurement and data analysis techniques is an objective, attempting to address gaps in our measurement capabilities.

The aerosol modelling post (currently held by David Topping) is concerned with the development of state-of-the-art modelling tools that help us to understand the fundamental processes that govern aerosol behaviour in the atmosphere. In particular, much time has been spent developing a thermodynamic model to predict the effect chemical composition and size has on how a given particle will interact with water vapour in the air. This is important because this governs how much light the aerosol scatters, which affects visibility and climate, and also how the particles will affect cloud formation, which in turn affects rainfall, weather and climate. As well as developing the fundamental process model, work is also performed to use the parameterised results in a form that can be used in higher-level models.

External links:
NCAS Composition