Prof ELLIE HIGHWOOD

Past projects in brief

(See also the Publications page, the Aerosol Group home page) and the Radiation group home page.)

    Impact of aerosols on East Asian Monsoon

    Liang Guo performed model simulations with HIGEM to assess the influence of changes in sulphate and black carbon aerosols on the East Asian Monsoon. He found an effect of sulphate and black carbon in altering the duration of the monsoon season, although different mechanisms are thought to be responsible in each case. Liang's PhD project was co-supervised by Andy Turner and Len Shaffrey from NCAS Climate. Liang is now working with Andy Turner and myself on the SAPRISE project.

    ADIENT - Appraising the Direct Impacts of Aerosols on Climate (Co-I., NERC APPRAISE)

    The ADIENT project aimed to quantify the direct effect of aerosols on the Earth's radiation budget via scattering and absorption of radiation. We were involved in new FAAM measurements of the physical, chemical and optical properties of aerosol over the UK and Europe and assessing the radiative impact of atmospheric aerosol.

    Climate response to supervolcano eruptions

    Bethan Harris' PhD concerned modelling the impact of a range of volcanic eruptions on climate. She found interesting changes to atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns for eruptions of 20 x Pinatubo and higher, and developed some simple relationships for estimating the impact of a super-eruption on regions of the world.

    QUANTIFY - Impact of transport on climate (Wp Leader, EU)

    I was a work package leader on the EU FP6 project QUANTIFY. We aimed to investigate and quantify the impact of transport (ground, sea and air) on European and wide climate and climate change. My role was to co-ordinate the investigation of idealised experiments quantifying climate response to absorbing aerosols such as might be produced by transport, initially in idealised experiments, and then using those more realistic to transport scenarios.

    APPRAISE CP2 - Improved representation and validation of the radiative properties and impacts of aerosols and clouds (P.I. NERC APPRAISE)

    This core funding developed a new bench mark radiative transfer model for use in aerosol radiative forcing calculations, examined the existing knowledge of aerosol properties from databases and field campaigns and performed an intercomparison of sunphotometers. Work is ongoing on an occasional basis although funding has ended.

    DODO - Dust Outflow and Deposition to the Ocean (P.I., NERC SOLAS)

    We have made two aircraft campaigns from Senegal to measure the in-situ properties of airborne dust from the Sahara across the Atlantic Ocean. It is important to characterise the dust in this region as it has an impact both on local radiative effect, but also on ocean nutrients. We worked with the Met Office on developing a new dust scheme in the Unified Model.

    ADRIEX - Aerosol Direct Radiative Experiment (P.I. NERC)

    Aircraft campaign (joint with the Met office) to characterise anthropogenic aerosol over the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea region and measure it's impact on radiation. The flight campaign was funded by NERC and the Met. Office with some additional funding from the University of Oslo and collaborators from ESSC, University of Oxford, UMIST and University of Leeds.

    Uncertainties in climate sensitivity due to uncertainties in the representaion of the sulphur cycle - NERC e-Science

    Aerosols are a cause of uncertainty in assessments of past and future climate change. Even the most studied and modeled of aerosols, sulphates, still has large unknowns in the description of it's formation in the atmosphere. In collaboration with climateprediction.net and via an e-science studentship, Duncan Ackerley to quantified the uncertainty introduced in climate sensitivity due to uncertainty in the sulphur scheme in the Unified Model.

    Volcanoes and climate - Laki eruption

    Volcanic eruptions are an important source of natural aerosol. Large explosive eruptions can affect climate for several years (e.g. Pinatubo, 1991). I examined the climatic impact of a large effusive eruption that occurred in Iceland in 1783. This eruption has been blamed for cold temperatures in Europe during 1783 and 1784 (Franklin, 1785), although there is little evidence that the volcano put any material into the stratosphere. My study showed that the Laki eruption could have produced Northern Hemisphere mean temperature anomalies consistent with observations. This study was a collaboration with Dr David Stevenson at the University of Edinburgh. A follow up study on the impacts of the climate impact on wetland emissions has now been published by Vincent Gauci of the Open University For more details see the Volcanoes page of the aerosol group web site.

    Impact of mineral dust on Longwave (terrestrial) radiation (2001-2003)

    This study was done in collaboration with the Met Research Flight and used observations and radiative transfer modelling to identify a signal of Saharan dust in outgoing longwave radiation, to establish a suitable refractive index and to estimate the impact of neglecting the presence of dust in retrievals of sea surface temperature. For more details see Aerosol Group Dust Page)

    Cloud inhomogeneities and their effect on aerosol forcing calculations.(1999-2000)

    This study looked at the impact of changing the way we treat sub-gridscale variability in cloud optical depth can affect aerosol radiative forcing calculations.

    SWAGG (EU project: Spectroscopy and WArming potentials of Greenhouse Gases (1997))

    This collaborative project involved 5 laboratories measuring the infra-red absorption cross-sections of a total of 12 different HFC and HCFC gases under a range of atmospheric temperature and pressures. An intercomparison of the measurments was made for HCFC-22. Radiative forcing and global warming potentials of each gas were calculated using the Reading Narrow Band Model.

    Radiative forcing due to Non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs)

    This collaboration with Ford Motor Company in Detroit assessed the likely role of 16 non-methane hydrocarbons in global warming.

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