|Dr Edwin Hirst and Dr Richard Greenaway |
from the University’s Centre for Atmospheric
and Instrumentation Research building the
instrument that will go on NASA’s aircraft
This is what Aerosol Ice Interface Transition Spectrometer (AIITS) does and it is on show this week (1-6 July) at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition - which showcases the most exciting and cutting-edge UK science and technology.
|The AIITS mounted on the NASA aircraft|
As the particles enter the instrument, they pass through a beam of light - scattering the light into complex scatter patterns. The scatter pattern depends on the shape, size and orientation of the particles and is like a thumbprint which can be used to classify or even identify the particles.
|Light scatter patterns from various particles in the atmosphere|
Tropical storms in the West Pacific play a crucial role in the Earth's climate system. Starting above some of the warmest waters, they carry sufficient energy to punch through the boundary that separates the troposphere, the lowest layer in the atmosphere, from the stratosphere above. In doing so, they reach as high as 20km and carry air up from the Earth’s surface. Chemicals in the air reaching the stratosphere can lead to ozone depletion.
The exhibit is based on an atmospheric research campaign headed up by the University of Cambridge and involving the University of Hertfordshire and also NASA, USA.
The week-long Exhibition starts today (Tuesday 1 July) and is arguably the most prestigious of its type in the UK, attracting over 10,000 visitors; including secondary school students, policy makers, MPs, leaders of industry, and representatives from funding agencies. For more information, visit the Royal Society’s Exhibition website.