Aircraft trace gas measurements during the London 2012 Olympics: Air quality and emission fluxes sampled upwind and downwind of a megacity

G. Allen, Sebastian O'Shea, J. Muller, B. Jones, D. O'Sullivan, J. Lee, S. Bauguitte, Martin Gallagher, Carl Percival, B. Barratt, J. McQuaid, S. Illingworth, C. Lee

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


    This study presents airborne in situ and remote sensing measurements recorded during July and August 2012, across the period of the London 2012 Summer Olympics and simultaneous with the Clear air for London (ClearfLo) ground-based measurement and modelling campaign. Through long-term (2-year) and intensive observation periods (Winter 2011 and Summer 2012), the ClearfLo programme aims to better understand emissions, as well as the chemical, dynamical and micro-meteorological processes which modulate air quality in the London urban environment - an important risk factor for both acute and chronic health effects. The work presented here focuses on two contrasting case studies within the summer ClearfLo period: 30 July 2012 and 9 August 2012, representing relatively clean background and polluted background cases, respectively, and characterised by well-mixed Atlantic westerly maritime inflow in the former and stagnant air (high pressure) in the latter. Measurements of CO, CO2, CH4, N2O, O3, HCN, and other gases measured on board the UK Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurement (FAAM) BAe-146 aircraft will be presented and interpreted, with emphasis on observed concentration gradients and tracer-tracer correlations as well as airmass vertical structure and airmass history upwind and downwind of central London in each case. By applying a simple advective model and making use of vertically resolved thermodynamic and composition data, we are able to derive emission strengths for these gases that are representative of the total enclosed surface area. Example emissions for these two cases range between 6x105 kg(C)/hr and 9x105 kg(C)/hr for CO2, and ~0.6x105 kg(C)/hr for CH4. This airborne sampling methodology highlights the unique utility of aircraft measurements to routinely and climatologically characterise emissions from area sources such as cities, and points to future missions to target localised hotspots and distributed point sources.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
    EventAmerican Geophysical Union - Fall Conference - San Francisco
    Duration: 8 Dec 201313 Dec 2013


    ConferenceAmerican Geophysical Union - Fall Conference
    CitySan Francisco


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