Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory (WAO)
The Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory (WAO) is on the North Norfolk coast (52º57’02’’N, 1º07’19’’E, 15 m asl). It is operated by the University of East Anglia having been established in 1992 with funding from BP (Norway) plc and NERC. Subsequently, long term monitoring and campaigns have been supported through numerous projects funded by NERC, Department of the Environment (DoE, DEFRA) and the EU. NCAS has also supported the site since 2002. Much of the instrumentation at WAO has come from HEFCE JIF and SRIF funds.
Weybourne’s location means that it experiences air with a wide range of pollution levels. Predominant south-westerlies bring polluted air from the UK (including from London and the Midlands). At times, especially in anticyclonic conditions, Weybourne experiences polluted air from Europe. Weybourne can also receive clean background air in northerly air flow. This can be impacted by narrow pollution plumes from shipping in the N. Sea, and potentially gas platforms.
Over the years the parameters measured at WAO have varied according to the funding and/or scientific interests and requirements. There have been continuous measurements of ozone, as part of the DEFRA network, and basic meteorological parameters. There are many years of CO, NOx, NOy, SO2, CN, VOC and H2 data. In 2007 a long term monitoring programme for CO2 and O2 began. In 2012 a new greenhouse gas GC was set up and measurements of CH4 started. This is being developed to also include measurements of N2O and SF6. Together, the measurements of CO2, O2, CH4, N2O, SF6, CO and H2 are being integrated into a single analytical system with common calibration standards and data processing procedures.
As well as being part of the DEFRA ozone network, Weybourne is part of the DEFRA TOMPS network (atmospheric toxic organic samplers), a DEFRA CH4 network, and the EU InGOS network (Integrated non-CO2 Greenhouse gas Observing System).
Many successful campaigns have been hosted at WAO to examine oxidizing capacity, organic chemistry, carbonaceous particles, night-time chemistry and cloud impacts on radiation. In addition to the permanent building (see photo) there is adequate power and space to support instrumented mobile labs and containers. The site is also used by the wider community for instrument testing.
Most of the data collected since 2002 are available via BADC. Other data can be obtained on request from the University of East Anglia.
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