Jordan White

University of Leicester


Airborne Mapping of the 3-Dimensional Structure of Urban Boundary Layers

PhD Summary

Using visible-range passive spectrometers with very high spectral and spatial resolution, Jordan will be exploring the spatial variability of air pollution in the urban boundary layer (the lowermost layerof the troposphere in the urban domain) within University of Leicester's Air Quality Physics research group. To-date, Jordan's work has focused on improving the instrument design of an existing spectrometer for use as a remote-sensing instrument for nadir viewing from light aircraft. This has involved the optimisation of the frame rate, achieving a "more square" ground pixel, calibration of the instrument (spectral and radiometric) and writing code to process the data, primarily in R. By June 2015 the airborne spectrometer will be certified for mounting in aerial survey aircraft, at which point a tailored flight plan will be organised over Leicester. Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) retrieval techniques will be applied to the flight data, resulting in slant columndensities of NO2, O3, CHOCHO and O4. For this research flight, two additional ground-based spectrometers with multiple fields of view will be deployed. With the data gathered from these three instruments, a tomographic retrieval algorithm will be developed, resulting in the ability to comprehend the distribution of urban air pollution in three dimensions through a measurement-intensive process. Jordan is CASE sponsored by Bluesky, an aerial surveying company based in Leicestershire. This partnership exhibits the good working relationship between University of Leicester's Air Quality Physics group and Bluesky. The aptly named "Air Quality Mapper" is the spectrometer Jordan has supported in optimising for aerial survey purposes, and is now part of the product/service range offered by Bluesky. The commercialisation of the Air Quality Mapper is hoped to bring large volumes of diverse data that will support Jordan's research. Jordan will be spending his work experience at Bluesky processing this data (and making an automated process) for customers of this product. Furthermore, Jordan will be working in flight operations to gain first-hand experience in flight planning and data acquisition in light aircraft.