Lancaster University

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Lancaster scientist takes to the air to study pollution

01/30/2002 14:45:55

Dr Brian Davison from Lancaster University's Environmental Science department is taking to the air in an attempt to understand how potentially dangerous pollutants are transported around the world.

Dr Davison is travelling to Germany in February to pick up a Falcon 20 jet plane which he will bring back to test the air around Lancaster and Leeds for Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs are released into the environment by burning fuel, and tend to increase during the winter months. Their presence in the environment is of concern due to their toxic nature, several are known carcinogens.

Air will be collected at different heights upwind and downwind of Lancaster and Leeds to allow for sampling in polluted and clean air. The samples will then be tested in the laboratory to help environmental scientists understand how they are transported through the air and what chemical changes they undergo during this transportation.

At the same time Dr Jim McQuaid from the School of the Environment at University of Leeds will be monitoring a very wide range of organic compounds (VOC's). Their presence in the atmosphere produces ozone, aerosols and other secondary pollutants. These experiment will allow us to assess the extent to which regional scale weather systems may influence the dispersion of VOCs.