The National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) is a world-leading research centre dedicated to the advancement of atmospheric science. We carry out research in three themes which address specific societal needs.


Air Pollution

From city-scale monitoring and local actions, to future emissions and global impacts

Human exposure to air pollution is a significant global environmental burden. Improving air quality and reducing its impacts on people and economic development requires knowledge of chemical emissions, their transport over a range of space scales, their reactions and environmental fate.

Research Questions:

  • What are the real world emissions from current key pollution sources and how might they change into the future?
  • How can we use measurements and models to predict human exposure and evaluate how policies and new technologies may affect this?
  • How will climate change impact on air pollution and human exposure?

Our four key areas of research address: 1) emissions, 2) urban scale air pollution, 3) supporting health effects studies, and 4) interactions and feedbacks. 


Climate and High-Impact Weather

From heat waves and extreme winds, to droughts and heavy rain

High impact weather events are events of exceptional intensity or duration, usually with high socio-economic impacts. Society needs improved early warnings, risk assessments and further knowledge on the impact of climate change, in order to mitigate the risks of high-impact weather.

Research Questions:

  • What processes are key to the development of high-impact weather, and how predictable are these events?
  • How is climate change affecting high-impact weather now, and how will it in the future?
  • How can we exploit observational and modelling capabilities to understand the key processes and improve predictions and risk assessments?

Our four main research areas focus on: 1) convective storms, 2) cyclonic storms, 3) cold spells, heatwaves and droughts, and 4) large-scale modes of variability


Long-term Global Change

From aerosols, clouds and atmospheric circulation, to ozone recovery and global warming

Human activities are now the major driver of changes in global atmospheric composition and its interactions with Earth’s climate. Society needs scientific evidence to inform adaptation and mitigation policies that respond to this unprecedented global challenge.

Research Questions:

  • How are atmospheric composition and climate changing, and how will they change in the future?
  • How will long-term changes in gases and aerosols affect global weather, climate and air quality?
  • How can we improve our models of the Earth System to provide more robust predictions?

Our three priority research activities are: 1) climate projections, 2) changes in atmospheric composition, and 3) changes in aerosols and clouds