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Centre for Atmospheric Science

Dr Grant Allen

Dr Grant Allen

NERC Research Fellow

MPhys Physics with Space Science (Leicester) 2001, PhD Remote sensing of PAN in the UT (Leicester) 2005

Room Number: 3.16 [Simon Building]
Tel: +44 (0)161 306 3911
Email: grant.allen@manchester.ac.uk


Professional biography

Current job opportunities (advertised 22 May 2012):


For: 24 months from October 2012 –Grade 6 (currently £29,249 - £35,938 p.a.)



Dr. Grant Allen is a NERC Research Fellow (grant ref: NE/I021276/1) working with the Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Manchester.

After completing his PhD thesis at the University of Leicester with the Earth Observation Science Group, Grant moved to Manchester to take up a post-doctoral research position to record and interpret atmospheric composition and thermodynamic measurements from research aircraft. Grant first worked on the ACTIVE project in Darwin, Australia in 2005/06, studying the chemical and cloud transformations associated with deep island thunderstorms. Following this, Grant began a new role as Project Coordinator of the VOCALS project in Arica, Chile in 2008, where he studied correlations between atmospheric composition and cloud properties in addition to thermodynamic perturbations from atmospheric gravity waves. In 2011, Grant was awarded a NERC Fellowship to investigate “Novel High-resolution Trace Gas Retrievals from Aircraft in Support of Regional Air Quality Modelling”.

NERC Fellowship

This 3-year project, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council will begin in December 2011 and will seek to provide a new measurement and monitoring capability for trace gases pertinent to urban and regional air quality using bespoke retrieval algorithms developed for the ARIES infrared spectrometer on the UK’s Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) BAe-146 aircraft.

Aircraft measurements will be recorded synergistically with the ground-based Clear Air For London (ClearFLo) project with the aim of linking urban pollution measurements with the longer-range pollution plume evolved from the London boundary layer. This will be achieved using a range of atmospheric models capable of modelling tropospheric chemistry at high spatial resolution, which will be validated as part of the study. The new measurements will also serve to validate coarser resolution satellite trace gas retrievals.

VOCALS (VAMOS Ocean-Cloud-Atmosphere-Land Study)

 Arica, Chile,  October 2008 – November 2008

As the Project Coordinator of the VOCALS-UK campaign, Grant was responsible for general project management, data assurance, dissemination and collaborative engagement.

In the field, Grant planned aircraft science missions to study dynamical and microphysical influences on stratocumulus cloud formation and their representation in cloud-resolving, regional and climate models. Fieldwork involved logistical planning, science coordination and chief mission scientist work on the NERC Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurement (FAAM) BAe-146 aircraft. Post-campaign interests to date involve a satellite and modelling analysis of trapped boundary layer gravity waves and their influence on convective processes in the South East Pacific (SEP), as well as atmospheric chemical and aerosol processing and composition statistical analysis from aircraft measurements and validation of local emissions inventories.

ACTIVE (Aerosol and Chemical Transport In tropical convection)

 Darwin, Australia November 2005 –February 2006

Between 2005 and 2008, Grant worked as a researcher with Prof. Geraint Vaughan’s Dynamical Meteorology Group on the NERC-funded ACTIVE campaign. The project was conceived as a comprehensive research program of field measurements and modelling work to address these key scientific questions. This campaign took place during the 2005/2006 wet season (November – February) in Darwin, Australia and employed two aircraft: the ARSF Dornier 228-101, and the Grob G520T Egrett aircraft operated by Airborne Research Australia.  

Fieldwork included flying as a mission scientist onboard the NERC Dornier-228 aircraft, the launch of stratospheric balloons measuring ozone and thermodynamic structure and data quality analysis for aircraft instrumentation. Post-campaign research included regional composition studies and relationships with local meteorology and climate, as well as the analysis of synoptic-scale dynamics and modulation of tropical deep convection.

Doctoral Thesis

Grant took his PhD at Leicester University between 2001-2004 on the subject of the Remote Sensing of Peroxyacetyl Nitrate (PAN) in the Upper Troposphere. This doctoral thesis investigated the potential for the retrieval of PAN concentration data from remotely sensed infrared spectra of Earth’s atmosphere from atmospheric and space satellite platforms. The PAN molecule is an important atmospheric trace component, both in terms of its role as a reservoir molecule and intercontinental transport vehicle for urban pollution plumes; and through its impact on the ability of Earth’s atmosphere to cleanse itself of volatile organic pollutants. The first ever recorded laboratory reference spectra for PAN were measured as part of a CASE industrial partnership at the NERC Molecular Spectroscopy Facility (MSF). In conjunction with atmospheric radiative transfer modelling, these reference spectra were used to make the first measurements of PAN concentration data from infrared emission spectra of the Earth’s limb in the upper troposphere as measured by the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) onboard ESA’s Envisat satellite. High concentrations of PAN were observed from space in convective outflow and frontal uplift of pollution plumes from megacities in China, with consequent implications for USA air quality downwind.

Previous Posts

Dec 2011 – ongoing – NERC Fellowship – see above.

2008-2011: Research Associate – VOCALS – see above

2006-2008: Research Associate - ACTIVE – see above

2005-2006: Research Associate - Leicester University SCOUT-O3 project to investigate the detection of Polar Stratospheric Clouds and stratospheric denitrification using polar-orbiting infrared satellite instruments including NASA’s Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer and ESA’a Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS).

Research Interests

Grant plans to develop his work on linking atmospheric mesoscale processes with the microphysical scale and the larger synoptic scale through remote sensing (airborne and satellite-based). This will be a key part of the NERC Fellowship strategy. A full and accurate understanding of the linkage between these scales and how they are best interpreted in terms of better understanding weather and climate is currently poorly characterized.

Research Keywords: Atmospheric Composition, Atmospheric Dynamics, Air Quality, Cloud Microphysics, Cloud-Aerosol Interactions, Long-range Transport, Satellite Remote Sensing.


2011: NERC Fellowship – Novel High-resolution Trace Gas Retrievals from Aircraft in Support of Regional Air Quality Modelling (grant ref: NE/I021276/1)

2010: Royal Society International Travel Grant (ref: TG101377) – Meeting of the Americas, Brazil, 2010.



Specific research interests

Meteorology, Tropospheric Composition and, Air Quality, Climate Change, Satellite remote sensing


N. H. Robinson, J. D. Allan, J. A. Trembath, P. D. Rosenberg, G. Allen, and H. Coe, The lofting of Western Pacific regional aerosol by island thermodynamics as observed around Borneo, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 1215-1265, 2012

P. J. Connolly, G. Vaughan, P.T. May, C. Chemel, G. Allen, T. W. Choularton, M. W. Gallagher, K. N. Bower, J. Crosier, C. Dearden , Can aerosols influence deep tropical convection? Aerosol indirect effects in the Hector island thunderstorm, submitted to Q. J. R. Met. Soc., September 2011

P. E. Saide, S. N. Spak, G. R. Carmichael, M. A. Mena-Carrasco, S. Howell, D. C. Leon, A. R. Bandy , J. L. Collett, J. R. Snider, T. S. Bates S. P. de Szoeke, G. Allen, I. Crawford, J. Crosier, and S. R. Springston: Evaluating WRF-Chem aerosol indirect effects in Southeast Pacific marine stratocumulus during VOCALS-Rex, submitted to Atmos. Chem. Phys. Disc., October 2011.

Allen, G., Vaughan, G., T. Toniazzo, Coe, H., P. Connolly., S. Yuter, C. D. Burleyson, P. Minnis, J. K. Ayers,: Gravity wave–induced perturbations in marine stratocumulus, submitted to Q. J. RMetSoc, September 2011.

Gallagher, M.W., Connolly, P. J., Heymsfield, A., Bower, K. N., Choularton, T. W.,  Allen, G.,  Flynn, M. J., Vaughan, G., and Hacker, J.: Observations and Modelling of Microphysical Variability, Aggregation & Sedimentation in Tropical Storm Cirrus Outflow Regions, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Disc., 11. 23761–23800, 2011.

Hoyle, C. R., Marécal, V., Russo, M. R., Allen, G., Arteta, J., Chemel, C., Chipperfield, M. P., D'Amato, F., Dessens, O., Feng, W., Hamilton, J. F., Harris, N. R. P., Hosking, J. S., Lewis, A. C., Morgenstern, O., Peter, T., Pyle, J. A., Reddmann, T., Richards, N. A. D., Telford, P. J., Tian, W., Viciani, S., Volz-Thomas, A., Wild, O., Yang, X., and Zeng, G.: Representation of tropical deep convection in atmospheric models – Part 2: Tracer transport, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 8103-8131, doi:10.5194/acp-11-8103-2011, 2011.

Toniazzo, T.Abel, S. J., Wood, R., Mechoso, C. R., Allen, G., Shaffrey, L. C.:  Large-scale and synoptic meteorology in the south-east Pacific during the observations campaign VOCALS-REx in Spring  2008, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 4977-5009, 2011

L. I. Kleinman, P. H. Daum, Y.-N. Lee, E. R. Lewis, A. J. Sedlacek III, G. I. Senum, S. R. Springston, J. Wang, J. Hubbe, J. Jayne, Q. Min, S. S. Yum, and G. Allen: Aerosol concentration and size distribution measured below, in, and above cloud from the DOE G-1 during VOCALS-REx, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 17289–17336, 2011

Allen, G., Coe, H., Clarke, A., Bretherton, C., Wood, R., Abel, S. J., Barrett, P., Brown, P., George, R., Freitag, S., McNaughton, C., Howell, S., Shank, L., Kapustin, V., Brekhovskikh, V., Kleinman, L., Lee, Y.-N., Springston, S., Toniazzo, T., Krejci, R., Fochesatto, J., Shaw, G., Krecl, P., Brooks, B., McMeeking, G., Bower, K. N., Williams, P. I., Crosier, J., Crawford  I., Connolly, P., Allan, J. D., Covert, D., Bandy, A. R., Russell, L. M., Trembath, J., Bart, M., McQuaid, J. B., Wang, J., and Chand, D.: South East Pacific atmospheric composition and variability sampled along 20° S during VOCALS-REx, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 5237-5262, doi:10.5194/acp-11-5237-2011, 2011.

R. Wood, C. R. Mechoso, C. S. Bretherton, R. A. Weller, B. Huebert, F. Straneo, B. A. Albrecht, H. Coe, G. Allen, G. Vaughan, P. Daum, C. Fairall, D. Chand, L. Gallardo Klenner, R. Garreaud, C. Grados, D. S. Covert, T. S. Bates, R. Krejci, L. M. Russell, S. de Szoeke, A. Brewer, S. E. Yuter, S. R. Springston, A. Chaigneau, T. Toniazzo, P. Minnis, R. Palikonda, S. J. Abel, W. O. J. Brown, S. Williams, J. Fochesatto, J. Brioude, and K. N. Bower : The VAMOS Ocean-Cloud-Atmosphere-Land Study Regional Experiment (VOCALS-REx): goals, platforms, and field operations, Atmos. Chem. Phys. 12, 627-654, 2011.

Wood, R., Bretherton, C. S., Leon, D., Clarke, A. D., Zuidema, P., Allen, G., and Coe, H.: An aircraft case study of the spatial transition from closed to open mesoscale cellular convection, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 2341–2370, 2011

Bretherton, C. S., Wood, R. George, R. C., Leon, D., Allen, G., and Zheng, X.: Southeast Pacific Stratocumulus Clouds, Precipitation and Boundary Layer Structure Sampled Along 20 S During VOCALS-REx, Atmos. Chem. Phys.,10, 10639-10654, 2010.

Abel, S.J, Walters, D. N., and Allen, G: Evaluation of stratocumulus cloud prediction in the Met Office forecast model during VOCALS-REx, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 10541–10559, doi:10.5194/acp-10-10541-2010, 2010.

Heyes, W. J., Vaughan, G., Allen, G., Volz-Thomas, A., Pätz, H.-W., and Busen, R.: Composition of the TTL over Darwin: local mixing or long-range transport? Atmos. Chem. Phys. 9, 7725-7236, 2009.

Fan, J., J. M. Comstock, M. Ovchinnikov, S. A. McFarlane, G. McFarquhar, and G. Allen: Tropical anvil characteristics and water vapor of the tropical tropopause layer: Impact of heterogeneous and homogeneous freezing parameterizations, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D12201, doi:10.1029/2009JD012696, 2010

Huntrieser, H., Schlager, H., Lichtenstern, M.,  Roiger, A., Stock, P., Minikin, A., Höller, H.,. Schmidt, K.,  Allen, G., Viciani, S., Ulanovsky, A., Ravegnani, F., and Brunner D.: NOx production by lightning in Hector: first airborne measurements during SCOUT-O3/ACTIVE, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 8377-8412, 2009

Allen, G., Vaughan, G., Brunner, D., May, P. Heyes, W. Minnis, P., Ayers, J. K.: Modulation of tropical convection by breaking Rossby waves, Q. J. Roy. Met. Soc., 135(638), 125-137 DOI: 10.1002/qj.349, 2008

May, P. T., Allen, G. Vaughan, and P. Connolly: Aerosol and thermodynamic effects on tropical cloud systems, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 15-24, 2009

Brunner, D. Siegmund, P., May, P.T., Chappel, L., Schiller, C., Müller, R., Peter, T., Fueglistaler, S.,MacKenzie, A.R., Fix, A., Schlager, H., Allen, G., Fjaeraa, A.M., Streibel, M., Harris, N.R.P.: The SCOUT-O3 Darwin Aircraft Campaign: rationale and meteorology, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 93-117, 2009

Allen, G., et al., Correction to Aerosol and trace-gas measurements in the Darwin area during the wet season, J. Geophys. Res., 113, D23303, doi:10.1029/2008JD011284, 2008

Allen, G., Vaughan, G., Bower, K., et al.: Aerosol and trace-gas measurements in the Darwin area during the wet season, J. Geophys. Res., 113, D06306, doi:10.1029/2007JD008706.

Hamilton, J. F., Allen, G., Watson, N. M., J. D. Lee, J.  E. Saxton, A. C. Lewis, G. Vaughan, K, N. Bower, M. J. Flynn, J. Crosier, G D. Carver, N. R. P. Harris, R. J. Parker, J.J. Remedios, and N. A. D. Richards: Observations of an atmospheric chemical equator and its implications for the tropical warm pool, J. Geophys. Res., 113, D20313, doi:10.1029/2008JD009940, 2008.

Remedios, J. J., Allen, G., Waterfall, A. M., et al.: Detection of organic compound signatures in infra-red, limb emission spectra observed by the MIPAS-B2 balloon instrument, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 1599-1613, 2007.

Remedios, J.J., Moore, D. P., Meacham, P., Allen, G., Waterfall, A. M., Sembhi, H.: New measurements of trace species in the upper troposphere from infra-red spectra of the atmosphere, Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere for Environmental Security, ed. A. Perrin et al., Springer, Netherlands, pp 71-85, 2006.

Davies, S., Mann, G. W., Carslaw, K. S., Chipperfield, M. P., Remedios, J. J., Allen, G., Waterfall, A. M., and Spang R.: Testing our understanding of Arctic denitrification using MIPAS-E satellite measurements in winter 2002/03, Atmos. Chem. Phys, 6, 3149-3161, 2006

Allen, G., Remedios, J. J., and Smith, K. M.: Low temperature mid-infrared cross-sections for peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN) vapour. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 5, 3153–3158, 2005.

Allen, G., Remedios, J. J., Newnham, D. A., Smith, K. M., and Monks, P. S.: Improved mid-infrared cross-sections for peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN) vapour, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 5, 47-56, 2005

Waterfall, A., Allen, G., Remedios, J. J., and Sembhi, H.: Infrared remote sensing of organic compounds in the upper troposphere, Proceedings of the ENVISAT Symposium, Salzburg, September 2004

Recent and forthcoming publications

 Allen, G., Ricketts, H., Vaughan, G., Coe, H., Grosvenor, D.: Free tropospheric aerosol entrainment and cloud radiative impacts observed during VOCALS-Rex, in preparation

Crawford, I., Allen, G., Gallagher, M., Crosier, J., Coe, H.: Boundary layer and cloud layer thermodynamic structure and variability observed by the BAe-146 aircraft during VOCALS-Rex, in preparation.