Alastair Williams Seminar - "Atmospheric research studies at ANSTO using Radon-222"

Event type: 
29 March 2017
2.00pm - 3.00pm

Climate Change Research Centre seminar room, level 4 Mathews Building, Kensington Campus, Sydney

Alastair Williams
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW Australia

ANSTO’s atmospheric radioactivity group conducts experimental atmospheric research using 222Rn (radon), a naturally-occurring radioactive trace gas of terrestrial origin. The group develops unique instrumentation systems for surface, tower and aircraft based platforms, supported by specialised laboratory sample processing and analysis facilities, and deploys them in collaborative long-term and campaign-style measurement programs as part of national and international efforts aimed at improving our understanding of mixing and transport processes in the earth’s atmosphere, with a strong focus on the sources and fate of airborne pollutants and greenhouse gases.

We are involved in a range of collaborative studies, using radon to:

  • elucidate mixing processes in the atmospheric boundary layer;
  • investigate sources and movement of pollution and greenhouse gases;
  • aid in interpretation of observed changes in regional and global atmospheric composition;
  • improve characterisation of public exposure to urban air pollution; and
  • evaluate weather, climate and pollution models on a range of scales.

Our group contributes to radon measurement programs within WMO-GAW and greenhouse gas observing networks world-wide (including Europe, Asia, Hawaii, South Africa and Antarctica), and in Australia via our involvement with national facilities such as Cape Grim, RV Investigator and AIR-BOX. Our research is ultimately aimed at enabling practical, science-based improvements to the management of pollution (health) and alleviation of the effects of climate change.

This seminar will provide an introduction and overview of the radon science program at ANSTO, and showcase a few examples of recent studies demonstrating the wide range of applications for our measurements.


Brief Biography:

Alastair leads ANSTO’s atmospheric radioactivity group. He conducts experimental boundary layer research using radon to quantify vertical mixing processes in the lower atmosphere, and also holds a number of Lead Scientist roles including LS (radon) within the Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station Science Program. His personal research interests include boundary layer meteorology, micrometeorology, atmospheric turbulence, parameterisation of sub-grid processes in numerical models, atmosphere-surface interactions, aircraft meteorological measurements, and applications of radon in atmospheric studies.