Dr. A. Robert MacKenzie

  Hi. I joined the Environmental Science Department at Lancaster in May 1998. I teach atmospheric physics, chemistry, and pollutant transport at first year, second year, and third year level. I am the ES contact for the Environmental Physics degree we run jointly with the Physics Department, and I have overall responsibility for the Hazelrigg Climatological Field Station.

  My research interests centre on numerical modelling of aerosol processes in the troposphere and stratosphere. Aerosol particles are important in climate regulation - directly and through affecting cloud formation - and in many atmospheric chemistry processes. Our understanding of the sources and sinks of aerosol in the atmosphere is still very limited, so I don't expect this paragraph of my web page to change for some time!

  A small presentation about my research interests is available in various formats here.

Teaching Schedule

RTN-Geophysica proposal

Details (restricted access)

Recent research

  • The Airborne Platform for Earth observation (APE). This facility exists to manage the use of the Russian high-altitude aircraft, the Geophysica, for atmospheric research and earth observation. I head the UK APE office; the APE HQ is in IROE-CNR, Florence, Italy, led by Dr. Leopoldo Stefanutti.
  • Polar stratospheric clouds. Calculations of the homogeneous freezing of inorganic acid aerosol droplets suggest that this route is likely to produce solid polar stratospheric clouds only when temperatures drop below the ice frost point [MacKenzie et al., J. Geophys. Res., 103, 10,875-10,884, 1998]. We are currently building a model of the evolution of ternary liquid droplets that allows for the variation of droplet composition with size. Other workers have sugested that size-varying composition may be important in determining which particles freeze in rapid cooling events.Look out for details in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.
  • Tropospheric aerosols. We are using a Lagrangian tropospheric chemistry model to study the transport of primary aerosol mass (PM10 and PM2.5), and the formation and transport of secondary organic aerosol. See Kathryn Emmerson's page for details. The model we use - CiTTyCAT - was developed by Oliver Wild, Mat Evans, and others at the Atmospheric Chemistry Support Unit of the UK Universities' Global Atmospheric Modelling Programme. At Lancaster, we are also working to improve the treatment of biogenic VOC chemistry in the model, by improving the underlying emissions inventory, and by improving the secondary aerosol production scheme. Some of this work is funded by the URGENT thematic programme, since massive 'greening' of cities has been suggested as a method for urban regeneration.
  • Solid-liquid interfacial energies Does anybody know (or care) why two of the most prominent definitions of solid-liquid interfacial energy give completely different values [MacKenzie, J. Phys. Chem., 101, 1817-1823, 1997]?
  • New Atmospheric Science Journal The new on-line (and paper) journal from the European Geophysical Society, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, offers a new openness in peer review, and a quick turnaround. The content is high-quality, and reflects all aspects of atmospheric science. Log on and debate your science at the cutting edge!
  • UK Higher Education strategy See the recent detailed analysis in the Guardian.

Rob MacKenzie