Lab in the sky features in airshow

An aircraft that is equipped to carry out research led by university scientists is showcased at an aviation event.

A heavily modified BAE 146 plane, carrying sensors to measure greenhouse gases in the air, is taking part in the Scottish Airshow.

The Atmospheric Research Aircraft will join a static display of aircraft at the show, at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, which is open to the public.

Flight programme

We’re delighted that the public will have the opportunity to see this fascinating aircraft.

Professor Paul PalmerSchool of GeoSciences

A team led by the University is flying the aircraft around Ireland and the UK at altitudes from 100 feet to 5000-8000 feet over the sea.

Scientists will use results from the project, together with data from satellites and ships, to help gauge and track progress on UK Government targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The four-year project will measure carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emitted from various UK sources, such as industry, landfill and agriculture.

Tracking their movements will also help researchers improve their current understanding of how the gases affect climate change.

Combined data

The team will also take samples from sensors on a North Sea ferry, and from a series of towers, several storeys high, situated across the UK.

Results from the four-year survey will be coupled with observations from European, US and Japanese satellites of greenhouse gas movements.

Together this will give details of UK emissions to the atmosphere, in a global context, taking account of seasonal changes, such as emissions linked to agriculture.

City emissions

Air sampling at the BT Tower in London, and observations at a tower to be built in south-east England, will enable the first long-term study of greenhouse gas emissions from the capital.

The study, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, will be carried out with the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Leicester and Manchester, the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the Met Office and the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

This project is delivering robust greenhouse gas data which should help track progress towards tackling climate change.

Professor Paul PalmerSchool of GeoSciences