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Professor John Pyle FRS

Portrait of jap12

Head of Department

My research involves the use of state-of-the-art numerical models, run on supercomputers, to study the processes controlling the present state of the atmosphere and its evolution. A NERC Unit, the Atmospheric Chemistry Modelling Support Unit, is incorporated into the group.

Current research activities include:

Stratospheric Modelling

The chemistry, dynamics and radiative transfer of the stratosphere are being studied using a number of numerical models. Three particular problems being tackled are (i) the rapid depletion of ozone found recently in the polar spring, the so-called 'ozone hole', (ii) the more gradual decline in northern hemisphere ozone levels (which we have recently ascribed partly to long-term changes in atmospheric flow, and (iii) the effect on stratospheric ozone of increasing concentrations of CO2, CH4, N2O and the chlorofluorocarbons.

Tropospheric Modelling

We have developed a range of models for studying the chemistry of the lower atmosphere, from complex 3D models to models based on air parcel trajectories. A major research theme is the changing oxidizing capacity of the troposphere (the ability of the troposphere to cleanse itself of pollution). An important part of our work includes involvement in field campaigns.

Chemistry/climate interactions

These interactions have become a major research topic in recent years. We have included a detailed chemistry package into the Met Office's climate model, to study composition change since the industrial revolution and into the future. We have calculated the change in surface ozone at the end of this century, under certain assumptions about changing industrial emissions. The change is very climate-dependent, but shows massive increases (which are expected to lead to major health problems) over some of the continents.

Atmospheric composition measurements

We have developed lightweight gas chromatography instruments to measure halocarbons. These have been deployed from balloons and high-flying research aircraft.

Many of the problems addressed are of an interdisciplinary nature. Members of the group, which numbers about 20 postdoctoral researchers and students, come from a wide range of backgrounds in mathematics and physical science. Within Cambridge we collaborate closely with scientists at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.


Coordinated airborne studies in the tropics (CAST)
NRP Harris, LJ Carpenter, JD Lee, G Vaughan, MT Filus, RL Jones, B Ouyang, JA Pyle, AD Robinson, SJ Andrews, AC Lewis, J Minaeian, A Vaughan, JR Dorsey, MW Gallagher, M Le Breton, R Newton, CJ Percival, HMA Ricketts, SJB Bauguitte, GJ Nott, A Wellpott, MJ Ashfold, J Flemming, R Butler, PI Palmer, PH Kaye, C Stopford, C Chemel, H Boesch, N Humpage, A Vick, AR MacKenzie, R Hyde, P Angelov, E Meneguz, AJ Manning
– Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Constraints on oceanic methane emissions west of Svalbard from atmospheric in situ measurements and Lagrangian transport modeling
I Pisso, CL Myhre, SM Platt, S Eckhardt, O Hermansen, N Schmidbauer, J Mienert, S Vadakkepuliyambatta, S Bauguitte, J Pitt, G Allen, KN Bower, S O'Shea, MW Gallagher, CJ Percival, J Pyle, M Cain, A Stohl
– Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Measurements of δ<sup>13</sup>C in CH<inf>4</inf> and using particle dispersion modeling to characterize sources of Arctic methane within an air mass
JL France, M Cain, RE Fisher, D Lowry, G Allen, SJ O'Shea, S Illingworth, J Pyle, N Warwick, BT Jones, MW Gallagher, K Bower, M Le Breton, C Percival, J Muller, A Welpott, S Bauguitte, C George, GD Hayman, AJ Manning, CL Myhre, M Lanoisellé, EG Nisbet
– Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Heterogeneous reaction of ClONO2 with TiO2 and SiO2 aerosol particles: implications for stratospheric particle injection for climate engineering
M Tang, J Keeble, PJ Telford, FD Pope, P Braesicke, PT Griffiths, NL Abraham, J McGregor, IM Watson, RA Cox, JA Pyle, M Kalberer
– Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Using δ<sup>13</sup>C-CH<inf>4</inf> and δD-CH<inf>4</inf> to constrain Arctic methane emissions
NJ Warwick, ML Cain, R Fisher, JL France, D Lowry, SE Michel, EG Nisbet, BH Vaughn, JWC White, JA Pyle
– Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Methane mole fraction and δ<sup>13</sup>C above and below the trade wind inversion at Ascension Island in air sampled by aerial robotics
R Brownlow, D Lowry, RM Thomas, RE Fisher, JL France, M Cain, TS Richardson, C Greatwood, J Freer, JA Pyle, AR MacKenzie, EG Nisbet
– Geophysical Research Letters
Rising atmospheric methane: 2007–2014 growth and isotopic shift
EG Nisbet, EJ Dlugokencky, MR Manning, D Lowry, RE Fisher, JL France, SE Michel, JB Miller, JWC White, B Vaughn, P Bousquet, JA Pyle, NJ Warwick, M Cain, R Brownlow, G Zazzeri, M Lanoisellé, AC Manning, E Gloor, DEJ Worthy, EG Brunke, C Labuschagne, EW Wolff, AL Ganesan
– Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Future Arctic ozone recovery: The importance of chemistry and dynamics
EM Bednarz, AC Maycock, NL Abraham, P Braesicke, O Dessens, JA Pyle
– Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
A multi-model intercomparison of halogenated very short-lived substances (TransCom-VSLS): Linking oceanic emissions and tropospheric transport for a reconciled estimate of the stratospheric source gas injection of bromine
R Hossaini, PK Patra, AA Leeson, G Krysztofiak, NL Abraham, SJ Andrews, AT Archibald, J Aschmann, EL Atlas, DA Belikov, H Bönisch, LJ Carpenter, S Dhomse, M Dorf, A Engel, W Feng, S Fuhlbrügge, PT Griffiths, NRP Harris, R Hommel, T Keber, K Krüger, ST Lennartz, S Maksyutov, H Mantle, GP Mills, B Miller, SA Montzka, F Moore, MA Navarro, DE Oram, K Pfeilsticker, JA Pyle, B Quack, AD Robinson, E Saikawa, A Saiz-Lopez, S Sala, BM Sinnhuber, S Taguchi, S Tegtmeier, RT Lidster, C Wilson, F Ziska
– Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Stratospheric ozone changes under solar geoengineering: Implications for UV exposure and air quality
PJ Nowack, NL Abraham, P Braesicke, JA Pyle
– Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
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Research Group

Research Interest Groups

Telephone number

01223 336473