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Greenhouse gas and radiative forcing capacity

Trent University’s Dr. Wayne Evans often has his head in the clouds, so to speak. Actually, beyond the clouds might be a better description, as Dr. Evans is a top researcher of the earth’s ozone layer.

Analyzing data from satellite instruments, Dr. Evans examines depletion of the ozone layer, particularly in the polar regions and in southern Canada and Mexico. He also profiles specific greenhouse gases and the effects they have on the ozone layer.

Remote sensing technology is employed in this work, and is done from the space shuttle, satellites, balloons, aircraft and ground-based locations. Cholofluorocarbons, methane and carbon dioxide are a few of the atmospheric gases examined through these testing instruments, with the aim of measuring the radiative forcing capacity of each gas.

"My team was the first to do this type of research," says Dr. Evans, whose work is enhanced by funding from the Ontario Research & Development Challenge Fund (ORDCF) and Enbridge Consumers Gas.

"My research has evolved, and we are now also measuring gas concentrations and doing air pollution research," adds Dr. Evans. "We are looking at gas concentrations - particularly ozone - in the lower part of the atmosphere, under the clouds. We used to be able to measure this on days with clear skies only. It is more difficult with cloud cover but we have developed a new technique for measuring air pollutants in the boundary layer."

The ozone that Dr. Evans studies related to air pollution is not the same ozone located in the upper atmosphere of earth. The ozone that exists closer to ground level is formed when certain air pollutants come into contact with rays from the sun. Ground level ozone can be particularly detrimental to the environment.

Dr. Evans came to Trent in 1990 from Environment Canada and also does some of his research from Trent’s James McLean Oliver Research Centre.

Posted January 16, 2003

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