Active & Passive Measurement of Atmospheric Trace Gases

Study water vapour and methane, two important trace gases in the atmosphere.

The first is the dominant greenhouse gas and the second perhaps the most topical, on account of the recent prominence of unconventional gas extraction. Knowledge of the spatial and temporal variability of each is crucial.

The routine measurements made around the world are too sparse and infrequent to properly capture this variability; in the case of water, for weather and climate modelling; and in the case of methane, for ascribing responsibility for the anthropogenic emissions.

This project could develop along a couple of paths:

  • Developing a lidar (active) that measures Raman-scattered light from water, and which will ultimately be deployed at Davis Station in Antarctica as part of a larger campaign to understand the influence of the Southern Ocean in the Earth’s climate system; or
  • Quantifying methane leaks, based on a knowledge of the local atmospheric conditions and measured methane concentrations. This second option will suit a student who enjoys field work.

Tagged in Honours projects - Physics, Honours projects - Ecology and environmental science, Honours Projects - Murray Hamilton, Honours Projects - Robert Vincent, Honours in Physics subtheme - Space and atmospheric