The ‘GOLLUM’ project: Finding precious atmospheric oxygen data to improve understanding of the Earth
Lead Supervisor: Dr Andrew Manning
Location: University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences
Duration: 8 weeks
Suitable undergraduate degrees: Environmental Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences or similar; Computer Sciences; Mathematics
Measurements of atmospheric oxygen (O2) have many applications in carbon cycle and Earth system science, including: verifying fossil fuel emissions; quantifying global land and ocean carbon sinks; determining how much heat the oceans take up; figuring out where the carbon goes in land ecosystems; and checking how good or bad are computer models for atmospheric transport or ocean biogeochemistry. The CRAM (Carbon Related Atmospheric Measurement) Group at UEA makes ultra-high precision measurements of atmospheric O2 from several locations around the word in support of all of these research applications.
In this project, you will work on the GOLLUM (Global Oxygen Laboratories Link Ultra-precise Measurements) programme, which aims to reconcile atmospheric O2 data sets from different research groups around the world so that they can be merged and used in these science applications. The GOLLUM intercomparison programme has been running for 19 years, coordinated by the project supervisor (https://www.gollum.uea.ac.uk/). Your overarching objective will be to establish, quantify and understand offsets in atmospheric O2 measurements between the different research groups. This involves working with atmospheric O2 data collected by groups in Japan, New Zealand, USA, The Netherlands and Germany, and liaising with colleagues from these international groups.
You will learn about data curation and, using your own initiative, explore different ways to visually present the data to highlight different salient features. Such features may include offsets between laboratories, time-dependent trends, concentration-dependent changes, or offsets dependent on other gas species present in the air samples. The work involves a ‘deep dive’ into the data sets from our international colleagues, to really understand why we observe these offsets, trends and differences. Reasons may include different analytical measurement principles used in different laboratories and field stations, different calibration procedures or protocols, or problems with data quality control.
The final two components of the project are to create publication-quality graphs presenting the results from the GOLLUM data sets, and to write a project report summarising these findings and their conclusions. It is hoped that these two outputs will feed into a presentation to be given by the supervisor at the ‘Fourth Workshop on Atmospheric Oxygen’ (https://www.bowdoin.edu/physics/news-events/atmo2-workshop/) as well as a peer-reviewed publication to be submitted by the end of 2023, on which the student would be a co-author.
This is a two tiered application process. Initial applicant selection will be made by project supervisors and a further interview (online) will be conducted by UEA members of ARIES on the afternoon of Tuesday 13th June.