Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - TEAM-UP (Transfer of expertise in atmospheric monitoring of urban pollutants)

The primary objective of TEAM-UP was the development of genuinely novel instrumentation based on highly sensitive cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy with the intention of field deployment and application to problems in atmospheric chemistry requiring high spatial resolution.

This objective of TEAM-UP was realised through the establishment and promotion of a new technique referred to as 'Incoherent broad band cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy' (IBBCEAS). During the TEAM-UP project, IBBCEAS was shown to be a powerful method for the detection of very small amounts of atmospheric molecules and radicals, like nitrate (NO3), nitrous acid (HONO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), iodine monoxide (IO), OIO and iodine (I2), in volume mixing ratios down to 1 part per trillion (pptV) in reasonably short times, i.e. in 5 seconds for NO3. Laboratory experiments on all of these molecules, which are interesting for the urban and marine environment, were performed in static cells, flow cells and large volume atmospheric simulation chambers.

Since IBBCEAS was a very robust, compact and straightforward spectroscopic approach to trace gas detection it was therefore a very useful tool in atmospheric sciences, not only for applications in the laboratory and for atmospheric simulation, but also for field trials. A novel instrument was tested on a field campaign at Hudson for the detection of hypobromite (BrO), whose sources were still unknown, and also at Roches Point in Ireland with the goal to monitor plumes of ship traffic near Cork harbour. TEAM-UP was hence able to bridge the gap between establishing working laboratory experiments based on IBBCEAS and its application in the field.

During the course of the four year project the method was recognised by many experts in the field internationally. The results of the TEAM-UP project were published in 10 peer reviewed papers since 2006 and the results were widely disseminated at conferences and workshops internationally. By the time of the project completion there was clearly a significant impact in the international scientific community resulting from the TEAM-UP output, as for example demonstrated by the special session 'Cavity-enhanced spectroscopy in atmospheric research: From the laboratory to field measurements' at the General Assembly of the European Geophysical Union in Vienna, Austria, in April 2009. Several other groups worldwide, e.g. the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder, United States of America, in Heidelberg, Germany, in Cambridge, United Kingdom also started using IBBCEAS for laboratory and field studies and published on their results.

After further verification of data in more inter-comparison experiments, with TEAM-UP members taking part in one such inter-comparison at Forschungszentrum Jülich Germany, with older established methods, IBBCEAS was anticipated to provide a long-term tool for the legislative need to gather the so called 'air-truth', i.e. independently verified information on pollution levels. This could be possible for NO2, sulfur dioxide (SO2), HONO and organic pollutants such as formaldehyde and others.

Because of the involvement of Prof. Orphal in the project, who had substantial experience in remote sensing and modelling, a link was made between the optics and spectroscopy community and the modelling and remote sensing community within the atmospheric sciences. The experienced post doctoral researchers were involved in the training and education of post graduate students. One PhD project in the host institute, which was linked to TEAM-UP in that way, led to the further development of database data on ammonia (NH3) and acetonitrile (CH3CN).

The high quality training provided by the TEAM-UP fellows helped to attract postgraduate students to atmospheric science and helped the local profile of the research discipline through enhancing the reputation of the environmental Research Institute at University College Cork. Virtually all of the original TEAM-UP objectives were met, rendering this project a highly successful European endeavour.

Reported by