Scientist keen to work with big Google project

Dr Greg Bodeker, of Bodeker Scientific, was overwhelmed at how much new science was revealed at the Stratosphere-troposphere Processes and their Role in Climate (SPARC) general assembly in Queenstown last month.
Dr Greg Bodeker, of Bodeker Scientific, was overwhelmed at how much new science was revealed at the Stratosphere-troposphere Processes and their Role in Climate (SPARC) general assembly in Queenstown last month.
An Alexandra climate scientist has applied for funding to work with Google engineers to make scientific use of data collected using large balloons that will float in the stratosphere.

Google project, Project Loon, is designed to provide worldwide internet connectivity to remote regions of the globe.

Dr Greg Bodeker, of Bodeker Scientific, said the data collected would be useful for his ongoing research and data analysis of atmospheric changes. He and his team comprised the local organising committee for a major international climate change general assembly in Queenstown last month, where the project was described by a visiting engineer from Project Loon.

Nearly 300 international and national climate scientists attended the Stratosphere-troposphere Processes and their Role in Climate (SPARC) general assembly. Dr Bodeker is the outgoing co-chairman of SPARC, which was established in 1992 and is one of the four core projects in the World Climate Research Programme.

He said the conference focused on two layers of the earth's atmosphere - the stratosphere and troposphere, how they interact and their importance in the world's climate. There were 52 oral presentations and about 400 poster presentations, covering a range of topics from the ozone layer to Antarctic sea-ice and global warming.

''It was overwhelming just how much new science there was,'' Dr Bodeker said.

''I found it really interesting but I was really exhausted [afterwards].''

He said there were some ''really exciting'' presentations made. He said key measurements of essential climate variables needed to be maintained because, without the necessary data, scientists would not be able to detect and mitigate long-term impacts of human activities on the environment.

''How can you manage the quality of water in rivers or climate change if you don't measure it? ''Every country says making the measurements is important but far too often few are prepared to fund such long-term monitoring programmes.''

The Bodeker Scientific team gave four presentations, including details of research team member Stefanie Kremser is doing on the changes in the carbonylsulfide in the atmosphere. Dr Bodeker also presented a poster on the role of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Reference Upper-Air Network (GRUAN) for measuring and observing the climate system and climate change in the upper atmosphere. He is one of GRUAN's co-leaders.