The DARE-UK annual meeting was held remotely on the 30th June and 1st July. It was great to hear about the progress that was being made across the programme, despite the obvious difficulties brought about by Covid-19. Here’s a snapshot of some of the meeting highlights and a summary of where we’re heading over the next year. The DARE-UK team can see all the presentations and discussion transcripts on the Science Team page.
The WP1 team have been busy during the first year of the project! Pete Levy, with help from Yuri Artoli and Luke Smallman, gave a whistle-stop tour of some new work. They showed how biosphere flux estimates from the UKGHG and CARDAMOM models were being improved by incorporating new data sources. At the same time, the team had been working hard on understanding how anthropogenic fluxes change in time. Pete showed how new data streams (power generation, traffic counts, etc.) could be used to estimate, for example, how carbon fluxes might change during the recent national lockdown. We also heard how new data assimilation methods and improved field data on fertiliser applications were being used to estimate changes in terrestrial N2O flux.
Yuri Artoli summarised the results of the recent paper in JGR Biogeosciences on fluxes of CO2 and N2O from the coastal ocean around the UK. This work has generated a lot of interest across the team, and new work is being proposed around the detectability of these coastal fluxes by the atmospheric network, and the role that nitrate run-off from the land plays in the overall coastal N2O flux.
Work package 2 have spent much of the last 12 months in the lab, readying some exciting new instruments for deployment in the field. Tim Arnold started by showing how the new nitrous oxide instruments deployed across most of the UK network were allowing us to see detail in the record, which was previously hidden by noise. He then showed the amazing progress that had made in installing Rn instruments from ANSTO at Tacolneston, Heathfield and Ridge Hill (complementing the existing instrument at Weybourne). These data are going to be used in DARE-UK to evaluate the performance of the atmospheric models. Tim showed how the methane isotopologue, radiocarbon and atmospheric potential oxygen measurement systems were taking shape. It is hoped that these new systems will allow us to disaggregate different sources of carbon dioxide (e.g. natural versus anthropogenic) and methane (e.g. agriculture versus fossil fuel). Finally, we saw plans for the deployment of ground-based remote sensing equipment around London in collaboration with the NERC Field Spectroscopy Facility. Deployment of the isotope, oxygen and remote sensing instruments has been delayed somewhat, due to the lockdown. However, the team are aiming to have them all up and running at sites in the southeast of England by the end of 2020.
Rebecca Fisher gave a talk on some of the work that the team at Royal Holloway have been doing on mobile measurement of methane fluxes and characterisation of isotopic source signatures. She showed how there is now some really detailed information on methane isotope ratios and methane:ethane ratios from a range of emissions sources across the country. The challenge for the next 12 months will be to incorporate this information into the bottom-up modelling and use it in top-down frameworks to constrain sources from different sectors.
Atmospheric modelling and top-down flux estimation
Anita Ganesan gave an overview of the preparations that the atmospheric modelling teams were making in anticipation of the new datasets, which will become available over the next year. The Bristol and Edinburgh teams have been working on methods to incorporate co-emitted tracers (e.g. ethane as a co-emitted tracer for fossil methane) into their inverse modelling frameworks. Meanwhile, Reading have been looking at the physics of the NAME model, and developing methods for improving the turbulence scheme.
DARE-UK researchers have been involved in recent Europe-wide model inter-comparison experiments. Alecia Nickless gave an overview of a recent EUROCOM activity looking at the impact of the 2018 drought on European carbon dioxide fluxes. The change in net carbon flux brought about by the very dry conditions were thought to be detectable by the measurements and models.
Stakeholder engagement and next steps
Alistair Manning gave an overview of the outcomes of the stakeholder engagement event, which prompted much discussion about new directions and opportunities for the coming year. A write-up of the stakeholder event can be found on our newsletters page. Detailed action items for science team members are also on the Science Team page. Broadly, there were several areas that the group decided should be explored:
It was felt that DARE-UK should have a strong presence at COP 26 in Glasgow. Matt, Alistair and others are exploring ways to collaborate with other groups and measurement campaigns that have been scheduled to occur during the event
Since the closure of Angus Tower, the UK no longer has measurements in Scotland. It was felt that the impact of this loss should be investigated in terms of uncertainty in top-down methane and carbon dioxide fluxes, and options for possible funding for a new site explored. A sub-group will be formed and report back.
There was a very strong consensus that DARE-UK would benefit strongly from partnerships with other countries with similar ambitions. We will explore links with Ireland, New Zealand and several other countries.
The issue of the impact of estuarine outflow on coastal nitrous oxide fluxes was raised. Yuri and Alistair will lead a further investigation to determine whether these fluxes represent a substantial contribution to the UK total.
The impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on GHG fluxes will need to be explored. The team had a range of suggestions for identifying emissions changes across the country. This is an ongoing subject of research by several teams, who will report back in the near future.
With the bulk of the DARE-UK measurements scheduled to occur before next summer, so we’re already looking forward to hearing about new advances in greenhouse gas measurements and modelling in the UK at the annual meeting in June 2021!
DARE-UK International Summer School on Global Greenhouse Gases
Summer School Postponed until July, 2022
The summer school will not be held this year due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. It is expected that the crisis will affect the UK, Europe and the World for at least several months with associated restrictions on events and travelling.
We are planning to run the school in 2021 around the same time of the year (mid-July) with a similar programme, so please check back in the following weeks and months for updates.
We apologise to everybody who was looking forward to this learning opportunity and hope you will be able to apply next year.
In the meantime, please follow current advice from the medical authorities and your own institution to keep yourself save and help other, more vulnerable people manage this crisis.
National Oceanography Center (NOC), Southampton, UK
This intensive 1-week course is aimed at PhD students and post-doctoral researchers in the natural sciences who want to develop a solid understanding of the role of key greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the Earth system and the processes that govern their dynamics in the atmosphere, ocean and biosphere.
The residential course for 20-25 participants will be based at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton and comprises a combination of lectures, practical exercise, seminars and field/lab work. Organised by international experts in oceanography, atmospheric science and terrestrial biogeochemistry, the course will provide:
theoretical background on the role of greenhouse gases in the Earth System
field excursions and practical demonstrations in how to measure and model fluxes
interaction with leading experts in the field
the opportunity to network with other early-career scientists with similar interests.
Topics will include:
Greenhouse gases in ocean, atmosphere and biosphere, with a focus on carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O)
Instrumentation for measuring GHGs: theory and practice
Process modelling of GHG fluxes
Satellite observations of GHGs
Measuring and up-scaling fluxes in the terrestrial biosphere
Staff will be drawn from various institutions, including researchers from the Universities of Bristol, University of Exeter and others, and UK research centres including National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Forestry Research (FR), National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and others.
All participants will be expected to present a poster on their research during the summer school.
The course will start after lunch time on Sunday, 12th July, and finish at noon on Saturday, 18th July; students can travel on those days.
Cost and funding
There is a course fee of £870, payable before the course.
This includes all accommodation, meals and field trips during the summer school. Accommodation is in single standard (non-ensuite) rooms in a student residence.
How to apply – deadline 15 April 2020
The summer school has been postponed until 2021, so registration is not currently possible. Please check back later for updates on the arrangements for 2021.
The course is open to all PhD students and early career scientists, both from the UK and other countries.
If you have any questions about the summer school or if the application form does not work for you, please contact Stephan Matthiesen (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Read Matt Rigbys article in ‘The Conversation’ about how DARE-UK will highlight the differences between bottom-up and top-down emissions reporting. “Countries still figure out their emissions by adding up all the sources, without measuring what’s actually in the air”
How much greenhouse gas is emitted by any individual country? With global emissions of carbon dioxide hitting a record of 36.8 billion tonnes this year, and delegates gathering in Madrid for the latest UN climate talks, it’s a pressing question.
One might assume that we know precisely how much is emitted by any given country, and that such figures are rigorously cross-checked and scrutinised. And in some respects, this is true – countries are….. read more
The University of Bristol’s, Aoife, Alecia, Jenna and Kanokrat, as well as our volunteer Charlotte, took their research out to educate and inspire young people and adults at last weekend’s country-wide Science Festival. We engaged with over 300 students on Friday at We the Curious, where they enjoyed testing their breath for carbon dioxide, building greenhouse gas molecules, guessing the carbon footprint of using a smart phone or watching Netflix, and guessing which animals burp the most methane! Saturday night saw We the Curious open to the public for a spectacular evening of science extravaganza. We the Curious was transformed with interactive exhibits from groups all over the University for FUTURES Up Late, complete with its own bar and DJ. We had loads of interest in our research and people queued up to play our quizzes and find out how they could reduce their carbon emissions. It felt great to get out there and engage with the public, sharing our research and getting the public’s take on what we do … whilst dancing along to some funky tunes too!