Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

Analytical Chemistry Seminar: John Birks

Analytical Chemistry Seminar: John Birks

Analytical & Environmental Chemistry Division and Atmospheric Chemistry Program Seminar

Jointly sponsored by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, CIRES, and the Environmental Program

Portable Air Pollution Monitors and the Global Ozone (GO3) Project

by John Birks - President, 2B Technologies and Director, Global Ozone (GO3) Project, Boulder, CO

Over the past 15 years we have developed highly portable instruments for measurements of ozone, NO, NO2 and black carbon. These instruments have enabled measurements in remote locations and extreme environments around the world. Our small, light-weight, low-power instruments have been widely used for atmospheric measurements on balloons, kites, UAVs, towers, trams and research aircraft, and at many remote sites, including Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands, the Greenland ice sheet, the summit of Mont Blanc, the Amazon rain forest, on buoys in the Arctic Ocean, on commercial airliners, in many U.S. National Parks and at numerous other locations throughout the world.

The Global Ozone or “GO3” Project was founded as a non-profit organization for educational outreach in 2009. In the GO3 Project, middle and high school students at more than 100 schools around the world measure air pollutants and meteorological parameters outside their schools and upload their data to a public database every 15 minutes. The data may be graphed online and displayed on Google Earth. Students interpret their results and discuss their findings in blogs and forums in a social network similar to Facebook. The GO3 Project includes an online, interactive curriculum where students learn about atmospheric environmental problems and how they are interrelated, including: ground level ozone, stratospheric ozone depletion ("ozone hole"), acid rain and global climate change. The GO3 Project also includes a hands-on Black Carbon Experiment where students measure this important air pollutant by collecting particles on a filter and measuring the optical transmission through the filter using a simple but accurate photometer. In our newest project, GO3 Treks, students hypothesize how air pollutants vary along treks of their own design, and then carry out the treks using pocket-sized ozone and black carbon monitors. Treks are displayed on Google Earth within blogs where students discuss their results with input from teachers and air quality scientists.


CIRES Fellows Room, Ekeley S274