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New atmospheric chamber research group launches with €9m fund

An air-sea-ice chamber at the University of East Anglia (UEA) will benefit from €9 million of funding, thanks to a project bringing together advanced atmospheric simulation chambers into a world-class infrastructure.

More than fifty European scientists - including physicists, atmospheric chemists and biologists based in more than 10 countries - met in Paris last month for the kick-off meeting of the EUROCHAMP-2020 research infrastructure (http://www.eurochamp.org).

The research facilities will be used for explaining processes that occur in the atmosphere and lay the foundations for air quality and climate models. In addition, laboratory studies also aid the interpretation of field measurements.

The Roland von Glasow air-sea-ice chamber (RvG-ASIC) in UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences has an enclosed ocean-sea-ice-atmosphere system, which can be temperature controlled. Ocean, sea-ice and atmosphere can be monitored and sampled from individually, giving scientists the opportunity to perform experiments in controlled conditions, which replicate the polar environment. The chamber, named in honour of the late Prof. Roland von Glasow who conceived it, can be temperature-controlled from +30 °C to -55 °C, and sea-ice can be grown up to 30 cm in thickness.

The European Union has invested €9 million in the framework to further integrate this community of simulation chambers into a world-class infrastructure for research and innovation. UEA’s sea ice chamber will receive €300,000. This follows on to €1.2 million that was awarded to Roland von Glasow for the project that led to the construction of the chamber.

The three-day kick-off meeting in Paris allowed the partners from 23 research institutes to discuss the implementation of the project.

Developing innovative protocols for air pollution and climate studies, harmonising good practices and improving platform interoperability are among the goals of this initiative but above all, EUROCHAMP-2020 aims to open its platforms and datasets to a wide range of users.

Trans-national access is now extended to 16 different chambers and four calibration centres. An upgraded data centre to be launched by July will provide access to a huge database of chamber experiments, advanced analytical resources and high-level scientific data products.

The consortium also plans to work more closely with the private sector to exploit the innovation potential of the infrastructure by supporting the development of scientific instruments, sensor technologies or materials for removing air-pollution. The formation of links with other environmental research groups to promote the sustainability of the chamber facilities within the European Research Area was also discussed at the meeting.



Study Environmental Sciences at UEA