The BT Tower Observatory provides long-term, high-precision, continuous measurement of airborne GHGs and pollutants. By 2022 the measurement suite will comprise: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), ethane (C2H6), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) (all UKCEH) as well as nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) (Univ. York / NCAS). The eddy-covariance measurement system used at the BT tower consists of: a 3-D ultrasonic anemometer (R3-50, Gill Instruments; Reading Univ.); a dual quantum cascade laser absorption spectrometer (Aerodyne; UKCEH); an infrared gas analyser (LiCOR-7000, UKCEH); and a fast NOx analyser (Univ. York). The anemometer is mounted on top of a lattice tower located on the roof of the BT tower giving an effective measurement height of 190m above street level. The gas analysers are located a few floors below the roof, in an air conditioned room. Air is sampled from ca. 0.3 m below the anemometer head at 20–25 L min-1 using a 45m long Teflon tube of OD 9.53mm (3/8''). The observatory is also used for intensive measurement campaigns (for example in 2006, 2007, 2012 and 2021).
The BT Tower Observatory was first established in 2006. Its capabilities have developed and expanded since then, for example eddy-covariance measurements became routinely available from 2017. UKCEH and BT have agreed a 10-year licence-to-occupy the Tower, to be reviewed in 2032. The Observatory's core instrumentation was upgraded in 2021, providing a 10-year lifespan, also to be reviewed in 2032. Other instrumentation is on a flexible replacement rota.
The BT Tower Observatory is the only urban flux measurement site in the UK where urban emissions are being tracked long-term through direct measurement.
UKCEH partners for the BT Tower observatory are: National Centre for Atmospheric Science (Atmospheric Measurement and Observation Facility); University of York; University of Reading.
Research and observation outputs from the BT Tower Observatory are freely available via the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis: CEDA. Physical access to the BT Tower Observatory, including capacity to add further instruments, is limited by space constraints: contact Eiko Nemitz, UKCEH Edinburgh.
BT Tower, Fitzrovia: 190 m above Central London.
The BT Tower Observatory is currently funded by: the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund (Clean Air programme and OSCA); NERC National Capability LTSS (UK-SCaPE programme); plus research project grants.
Data from the BT Tower Observatory are used by: (1) Researchers interested in urban air quality fluxes; (2) European Fluxes Database; (3) Government as independent assessment of the effectiveness of emission reduction measures (e.g. ULEZ; NetZero policies).
Area, city, farm, habitat
28 April 2022 13:21