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Available research projects

Further details available on request

Application of Open-Path Near InfraRed measurements to leak detection

  • Deployment of OP-NIR instrument to a site in Gippsland.
  • Comparison of these measurements to in situ measurements at the site.
  • Use of local sources to attempt to identify and quantify fluxes and measurement sensitivity.
  • Deployment location is near to strong methane sources that should provide a clear signal in measurements.
  • Meteorological measurements can be used to differentiate between "clean" and polluted airmasses
  • Local model can be used to estimate strength of fluxes

Quantifying city scale greenhouse gas carbon emissions from the Sydney basin

  • Deployment of one or more portable solar FTIRs (EM27/SUN, Fibre-optic coupled cube) within the Sydney basin.
  • Comparison to TCCON measurements at Wollongong to determine CO2, CH4 gradients.
  • Potential comparison to GOSAT and OCO-2 satellite measurements.
  • Portable FTIR's consistency with TCCON can be established via co-located time series over several years.

Column measurements of biomass burning from Darwin, Australia

  • Darwin is heavily influenced by biomass burning, especially in the late dry season (August through October).
  • UOW operates a TCCON station in Darwin, measuring total column gas abundances.
  • TCCON measures in the near infrared, and therefore has routine measurements of CO, but not other gases emitted by savannah fires.
  • Addition of an extra detector and optics will allow expansion of the measurement capabilities to include spectral regions where other biomass burning emissions can be seen.
  • These optics and detector are ready for installation.
  • First measurements will be made, and first retrievals of these gases from Darwin can be examined.

Intercomparability of column greenhouse gas measurement instruments

  • TCCON hi resolution measurements are the gold standard for column greenhouse gas measurements and satellite validation.
  • TCCON instruments cost >$500k to install, and are not easily portable.
  • Recent interest has seen alternative portable instruments developed.
  • At UOW, we run two such instruments alongside the TCCON instrument: an EM27/SUN, and an in-house-developed, fibre-optic-coupled FTIR.
  • We have several years' overlap to compare between instruments.
  • Other sites within the TCCON network also have co-located time series.
  • Comparisons can establish the temporal and spatial consistency of the instruments, and suitability/differences for complementing the TCCON.

Improved vertical profiles for greenhouse gas retrievals.

  • Retrievals of greenhouse gas abundances from solar spectra (TCCON) rely on an accurate gas profile shape. This is based on a simple model.
  • The largest variability occurs near the surface, within the planetary boundary layer.
  • Many TCCON sites have co-located surface in situ measurements, measuring greenhouse gases within the planetary boundary layer.
  • Darwin, Wollongong are among these sites.
  • The project would involve QC/QA of the long-term time series on in situ measurements of CO2, CH4, N2O, and CO at Darwin and Wollongong.
  • These resulting time series can be used to compare to the modelled concentrations at the surface of the assumed gas profile.
  • Using the measured, rather than modelled, concentrations, comparisons in the retrieved columns and fits to the spectra can be made to hopefully improve the retrievals.

Column Greenhouse Gas Measurements in Australia and validation using AirCore

  • Several AirCore related projects are available.
  • We will soon advertise for a PhD student to work on vertically-resolved AirCore profiles in Australia.
  • These will include balloon-borne profiles, for comparison to TCCON measurements.
  • We will also make skydiver-borne measurements to assess variability within the planetary boundary layer.
  • Some sub-projects within these will be available for honours, internship, or masters projects.
  • Horizontal AirCore profiles will also be collected for comparison to path-averaged techniques (e.g. open-path NIR mentioned above), and for detecting CO2 and CH4 hotspots.

Using OCS to partition biosphere CO2 fluxes between photosynthesis and respiration.

Determining CO2 fluxes using atmospheric concentration data can generally only yield net fluxes, and not differentiate between the different source/sink processes that are co-located. This project will seek to partition between biospheric photosynthesis and respiration by using atmospheric in situ and column amounts of carbonyl sulfide (OCS), which is taken up along with CO2 during photosynthesis, but not respired. This will be done via an expanding network of simultaneous OCS and CO2 column measurements, in conjunction with a chemical transport model. Derived photosynthetic fluxes will be compared to those derived from satellite-based measurements of plant fluorescence, and simulated fluxes from DGVMs. In particular, the student will seek to understand the dependence of photosynthesis and respiration on temperature and precipitation to improve predictions in carbon-climate modelling. Note: the student will also have the opportunity to work on improving the ground-based total column average retrievals of OCS, ethane and HCN from an expanded measurement range at TCCON sites, and ensuring inter-site consistency.

Improved HDO retrievals from ground-based NIR spectra and comparisons to satellite products

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© Nicholas Michael Deutscher, 2014