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Monitoring ground level ozone across the urban heat island


Project Description

Birmingham is about to become home to the Birmingham Urban Observatory, a re-imagined version of the Birmingham Urban Climate Laboratory (Chapman et al, 2015). The observatory will be a dense network of sensors monitoring variations in climate, air quality, ecology and infrastructure resilience across the city. Using this facility, this PhD will combine high resolution climate data with air quality data to provide an unprecedented spatial characterisation of ground level ozone across the city.

It has been shown that the Urban Heat Island effect (where cities are warmer than their surroundings) can enhance the photochemical reaction of pollutants leading to higher levels of ground level ozone (Swamy et al, 2017). Whilst this process is understood, city-wide spatial variation of the enhancement is yet to be investigated in detail. With the advent of the Internet of Things, it is now possible to develop, and deploy, sensors at a sufficient low cost to enable high resolution measurements across a city which will permit the relationship between Ozone and the Urban Heat Island to be investigated at an unprecedented spatial scale.

Birmingham makes for an interesting case study for this research project. The city has invested heavily in air quality mitigation and plans to implement a Clean Air Zone in early 2020. This will result in the displacement of the most polluting vehicles away from the core of the Urban Heat Island. As such there is an opportunity on this project to assess relative success of this intervention, in terms of ozone.

Funding Notes

CENTA studentships are for 3.5 years and are funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). In addition to the full payment of their tuition fees, successful candidates will receive the following financial support.
• Annual stipend, set at £15,009 for 2019/20
• Research training support grant (RTSG) of £8,000

References

Chapman, L., Muller, C.L., Young, D.T., Warren, E.L., Grimmond, C.S.B., Cai, X.M. and Ferranti, E.J., 2015. ‘The Birmingham urban climate laboratory: An open meteorological test bed and challenges of the Smart City’. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 96(9), pp.1545-1560.
Swamy, G., Nagendra, S.S. and Schlink, U. (2017) ‘Urban heat island (UHI) influence on secondary pollutant formation in a tropical humid environment’, Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, 67(10), pp.1080-1091.

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