Personal profile

Overview

Current and active research interests include:

  • Drone-based (unmanned aerial vehicle) measurement of atmospheric composition (in situ and remote sensing), specialising in greenhouse gas sampling and flux quantification methods
  • Environmental (atmospheric) baselining of shale gas areas in the UK with a focus of fugitive emission assessment of greenhouse gases
  • Aircraft and satellite measurements of atmospheric composition (using a range of in situ and remote sensing techniques)
  • pollution transport and modelling (local, urban and regional, e.g. biomass burning sources)
  • Methane and other greenhouse gas emissions quantification - at global, national and local scales - processes and inventory validation

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Fellow of:

Royal Meteorological Society

Member of:

Institute of Physics

European Geophysical Union

American Geophysical Union

NERC Peer Review College

 

Biography

After studying for MPhys - Physics with Space Science at Leicester University, Grant completed a PhD thesis (2005) on the subject of satellite remote sensing of peroxyacetyl nitrate from the MIPAS FTIR instrument on Envisat at the Space Research Centre, University of Leicester.

In 2005, Grant began a post-doctoral post at the University of Leicester with the Earth Observation Science Group, where he worked on the detection of polar stratospheric clouds from IASI and TES satellite data.


In late 2005, Grant joined the School of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Manchester, as a post-doctoral researcher on the international ACTIVE project to investigate thunderstorm, monsoon and synoptic-scale dynamics and their impacts on trace gas distribution and chemistry in the Darwin, Australia region.


In 2008, Grant joined the VOCALS project as project coordinator, investigating the interactions between the Walker circulation, coastal and marine aerosol sources, ocean currents, and Andean topography, to characterise their influence on stratocumulus cloud properties in the South East Pacific - a key region for the Earth's changing radiative budget.


In 2011, Grant was awarded a NERC Independent Research Fellowship to develop novel airborne remote sensing techniques for atmospheric composition monitoring with a focus on aircraft measurements around London during the ClearfLo project using the NERC FAAM research aircraft (www.faam.ac.uk). This resulted in the first quantified airborne flux snapshots of greenhouse gases from the London area for the first time (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013JD021269/abstract).


Also in 2011, I joined the Methane in the Arctic - measurements and modelling (MAMM) project as a co-I and aircraft work package manager to investigate potential source strengths of Arctic methane and other greenhouse gases in this important and rapidly changing environment (http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/14/8455/2014/acpd-14-8455-2014.html).


In 2012, Grant joined the NERC GAUGE thematic programme consortium (with universities of Edinburgh, Cambridge, Leicester, Leeds, Bristol, CEH, Met Office and others) as Manchester PI and aircraft work package manager. In this project, Grant led FAAM aircraft campaigns in Summer 2014 and 2015 to derive the first top-down validation of UK national Greenhouse gas inventories using aircraft measurements.

In 2015, Grant was awarded a grant as part of the NERC Global Methane highlight topic (MOYA) to improve understanding of global methane sources, focussing on aricraft field campaigns in Senegal, Uganda and Zambia. This study aims to improve regional source inventories of methane with an emphasis on biogenic signatures and cabon-isotopic fingerprinting.


Through 2013-2017, Grant has conducted projects with the UK Environment Agency to develop novel drone technology for regulatory monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from hotspot areas such as landfill and fracking operations.

Through 2015-2019, Grant is the work package leader of a project funded by BEIS to characterise the atmospheric baseline of greenhouse gases in shale gas areas (Blackpool and Kirby Misperton). In 2018, this project also involves the detection and quantification of greenhouse gas emissions (especially methane) from the UK's first active shale gas exploratory well in Blackpool using a range of in situ (fixed site) monitoring and drone surveys. This activity is complimented by Grant's involvement  as a PI on the NERC EQUIPT4RISK project, which seeks to develop technologies and measurement-based approaches for environmental risk assessment associated with shale gas development in the UK.

Research interests

Grant is currently active in the following:

  • airborne and satellite measurements of atmospheric composition (using a range of in situ and remote sensing techniques)
  • Drone development for atmospheric sampling and remote sensing
  • pollution transport and modelling (urban and regional, e.g. biomass burning sources)
  • methane and other greenhouse gas emissions in the Arctic and UK - processes and inventories

Current Research Projects

My research interests focus on the use of airborne and satellite in situ and remote sensing data and transport modelling to interpret atmospheric chemical processes and composition budgets, especially those linked to air quality/urban pollution and greenhouse gases. Specific current (active) projects include:

Closing the Global Methane Budget (NERC - 2016-2020)

This NERC-funded project will use (and add to) a global dataset of greenhouse gas measurements - including surface monitoring stations, aircraft and satellites - to attempt to balance the sources and sinks of atmospheric methane in the Earth system. Methane (the second-most important greenhouse gas after CO2) is rising rapidly in the atmosphere and science does not fully understand the reasons why. The relative roles of fossil fuel emissions, wetland emissions, Arctic climate change and biogeochemical sinks must all be understood to close the "budget". This project will use vast datasets and state-of-the-science Earth system models to reconcile these factors and update our understanding of each source and sink term through tailored field work and the setup of new monitoring stations (especially in the Tropics). Grant's role in this project leads FAAM aircraft field projects  (www.faam.ac.uk) in Senegal, Uganda and Zambia to study regional source signatures of methane to help apportion and quanitfy fluxes of methane from different source types across the planet.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for the measurement of CH(NERC - 2016-2017)

This 12-month NERC Technology Proof-of-concept project will seek to develop and test a new prototype drone for the remote sensing of methane and pioneer the use of 3D spatial tomography and rapid scanning techniqes to map methane plumes and quantify mass flux.

Environmental Baselining of potential locations of Hydraulic Fracturing (2015-2019)

This Department for Energy and Climate Change (now BEIS) funded project (see www.bgs.ac.uk/research/groundwater/shaleGas/monitoring/yorkshire.html) is an academically-led and independent project to understand the background environment of locations in Yorkshire and Lancashire ahead of any potential exploratory drilling for shale gas. My role in this project (together with colleagues at the University of York) is to lead the collection of a baseline dataset of atmopsheric composition (including greenhouse gases and air quality) at these two locations to provide a background against any future potential changes due to fracking in those areas can be interpreted and assessed.

NERC EQUIPT4RISK (2018-2022)

This strategic programme addresses the technological and measurement needs to better assess environmental impacts and risk associated with the development of shale gas extraction in the UK. Grant's involvement as the PI of a work package on atmospheric impacts consists of fieldwork and measurements to detect and quantify fugitive emissions of methane and greenhouse gases and air quality impacts.

Other research

Doctoral Thesis

Grant's PhD at Leicester University between 2001-2004 investigated the remote sensing of peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN) in the upper troposphere. It 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 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 Research Projects

GAUGE (2013-2017)

The GAUGE project (www.greenhouse-gases.org.uk/) addresses the need to validate the UK’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory reporting through top-down (measurement and modelling) approaches. My role in this project (as non-lead PI at Manchester and aircraft work package manager) will be to use measurements from the prestigious NERC FAAM aircraft (www.faam.ac.uk) to attempt to provide snapshots of closed-budget UK GHG emissions throughout several campaigns in 2014/2015.

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

Project Coordinator of the VOCALS-UK campaign. 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. Post-campaign interests involved 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 Nov 2005 –Feb 2006

Between 2005 and 2008, Grant worked as a researcher on the NERC-funded ACTIVE campaign. This campaign took place during the wet season 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.

 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, The Infrared Remote Sensing of Peroxyacetyle Nitrate, University of Leicester

1 Oct 20011 Apr 2005

Award Date: 1 Jul 2005

Master of Physics, Physics with Space Science and Technology, University of Leicester

22 Sept 19971 Jul 2001

Award Date: 1 Jul 2001

External positions

Research Associate, University of Leicester

1 Apr 200515 Aug 2005

Areas of expertise

  • QC Physics
  • Atmospheric Physics
  • Remote Sensing
  • Spectroscopy
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Unmanned airborne sensors
  • Air quality instrumentation

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Aerospace Research Institute
  • Energy
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Digital Futures
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute

Keywords

  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
  • Greenhouse Gases
  • Aircraft measurement
  • Methane

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