Development and characterisation of an automated surface ozone analyser to be deployed at Halley Research Station, Antarctica.
Lead supervisors: Dr Freya Squires
Location: Tropospheric Chemistry, British Antarctic Survey (BAS)
Duration: 8 weeks
Suitable undergraduate degrees: Environmental Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering
Ozone (O3) is a highly reactive oxidant, central to much tropospheric chemistry. Measurements of surface ozone have been measured year-round from the Clean Air Sector Laboratory (CAS Lab) at Halley Research Station in Antarctica since the early 2000s. Recent instabilities in the Brunt Ice Shelf, upon which Halley Research Station is located, however have meant that the station can no longer be manned during the Antarctic winter. To maintain measurements from Halley station over the winter and preserve long term records, science and engineering teams are working to automate measurements at the station.
This project will develop an automated system for a surface ozone measurement using a low powered ozone analyser. The system will be powered using a battery charged from a solar panel and small wind-turbine which reduces the carbon footprint associated with the measurement and makes progress towards BAS’s net-zero targets. The student will work with Dr Freya Squires to design a series of lab-based experiments to carry out a full characterisation of the analyser and assess its performance. This could include comparing the analyser’s output to a reference instrument, calibrating with an ozone source, evaluating the stability and drift of the analyser, and calculating a response time for the instrument.
It is important to assess the quality of data collected by the analyser during its unmanned deployment in Antarctica and this can be achieved by regularly calibrating the analyser. The student will develop an automated method for instrument calibration and test this method in the laboratory. This will be done with support from BAS engineering allowing the student to gain an insight into another area in BAS and develop their practical skills e.g. electronics work.
The student will analyse data throughout the project to inform the automated system design. Results and findings will be shared with the group through regular meetings and a report at the end of the project. This project would provide an excellent introduction to instrument science and the process of making atmospheric chemistry measurements. There are a range of skills that the student would have an opportunity to develop on this project, and the project can be skewed to support a student’s particular interests. The student will develop their troubleshooting, data processing and programming skills on this project. Any publications or proposals that directly result from the student’s work will be credited appropriately.