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Atmospheric chemistry experts to descend on NZ

2 September 2004

Atmospheric chemistry experts to descend on New Zealand

The number of scientists in New Zealand gets a temporary boost this week with the arrival of almost 400 experts in atmospheric chemistry.

They come from 35 countries, as far flung as Argentina and Uzbekistan, and they will be joined by a handful of New Zealanders for the first International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) conference ever to be held in the Southern Hemisphere.

During the five-day conference, in Christchurch, some 550 scientific papers will be presented touching on aspects of the theme “Atmospheric Chemistry in the Environment”.

“The IGAC conference is only held once every two years and is the major gathering in our field of science,” says Dr Dave Lowe of the tropospheric chemistry group at the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA). Dr Lowe is a member of the scientific steering group for IGAC.

There will be sessions on 13 broad topics, including:

toxic pollutants in the atmosphere aerosols (atmospheric particles like smoke, salt and sulphates, and their effects) biomass burning (forest & grassland fires and their effects on the atmosphere) mega cities (the atmospheric effects of very large cities) oxidising capacity of the atmosphere (how the atmosphere cleans itself of various pollutants, including greenhouse gases) climate-chemistry interaction (how the chemistry of the atmosphere affects the climate, including causes and effects of the ozone hole) atmosphere-ocean interaction (how greenhouse and other gases are transferred in and out of the ocean) air-ice interaction (how chemistry in snow and ice affects the atmosphere, particularly in places like Antarctica and Greenland) trans-boundary transport (how atmospheric pollutants from one region affect other parts of the world) The main keynote address – and a free public lecture – will be presented by Dr Susan Solomon, senior scientist with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA is the ocean and atmosphere equivalent of NASA. Dr Solomon played a leading role in identifying the mechanism behind the Antarctic ozone hole, wrote a controversial book on Scott’s fatal polar expedition (The Coldest March), and now co-chairs a working group of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

New Zealand sponsorship for the event has come from the Royal Society, NIWA, and the Ministry for the Environment (Climate Change Office).

8th International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) conference 4-9 September 2004 Convention Centre, Kilmore Street Christchurch

Free Public Lecture by Dr Susan Solomon “From Antarctic Ozone to Climate Change: A Personal Journey” Wednesday 8 September, 7pm Christchurch Convention Centre

Full programme details are available on the conference website at:


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