the car at home
using their cars not only influence local air quality
but affect climate change as well, according to new findings
by chemistry and environment lecturer Dr Alastair Lewis.
Dr Lewis has found that highly complex vehicle emissions
from private transport are often carried many thousands
of kilometres away from source to the background atmosphere,
and once there, take part in chemical reactions that ultimately
affect climate change.
Lewis has been awarded the Desty Memorial Prize for his
development of a new kind of gas chromatograph for measuring
the chemical composition of the atmosphere, able to operate
in remote locations such as the Southern Ocean, the Arctic
or even from aircraft in flight in the upper atmosphere.
Lewis said: "Our measurements showed that there are some
major groups of organic compounds that weren't being spotted
in the atmosphere by the standard technology and many
of these were from vehicle emissions. We've even found
traces of vehicle emissions in the Arctic lower atmosphere,
transported there by weather systems from both the USA
and Western Europe."
Lewis and his team are beginning a joint project with
the British Antarctic Survey, to track the movement of
pollutants through the atmosphere.
combining chemical measurements on the ground with satellite
images of wind movements, the researchers can track chemicals
unique to vehicle emissions, such as benzene. Measurements
will be taken in Antarctica, and instruments will be left
to run automatically during the winter, controlled remotely
from Leeds using satellite communication.