Impact: Technology for analysing and measuring atmospheric gases used throughout the world

An analyser developed at UOW that measures the main trace gases in the atmosphere simultaneously with high precision and accuracy is now operating across Australia and in many countries around the world.

The high accuracy greenhouse gas analyser can measure the main greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide - at the same time in a single air sample.

More than 10 such analysers were built at UOW for national and international research laboratories before licensing the technology to an Australian company, Ecotech Pty Ltd, which has exported the technology to countries including Germany, France, USA, Finland, South Korea, China and New Zealand.

Using related infrared spectroscopy techniques, UOW plays a leading role in two international networks for atmospheric measurements by remote sensing from Wollongong (since 1995) and Darwin (since 2005)

In this form of remote sensing, infrared radiation direct from the sun is collected by the ground-based spectrometers at Wollongong and Darwin and spectrally analysed to determine the amounts and vertical distributions of over 40 trace gases in the atmosphere.

These measurements are used to monitor long term changes in the atmosphere and to understand shorter-term variability. Initially, measurements focused on the chemical species relevant to ozone depletion in the stratosphere, especially after the discovery of the polar ozone hole over Antarctica.

In recent years research and measurements have concentrated more on the lower atmosphere and greenhouse gases as these have become of greater environmental concern. The measurements are used to validate and calibrate several current and future satellite-based instruments by making simultaneous measurements of trace gases as the satellites fly overhead.

    Professor David Griffith
    Dr Clare Murphy
    A/Professor Stephen Wilson
    Dr Nicholas Jones
    Dr Nicholas Deutscher
    Dr Voltaire Velazco
    Dr Glenn Bryant
    Dr Michael Esler
    Graham Kettlewell
    Martin Riggenbach
    Chris Caldow