In The Spotlight: Charlotte's atmospheric data processing project

What is your background?

I started studying Astronomy at the Rug in 2015. I have always been fascinated by the sky, stars and planets so this was the ultimate choice for me. After finishing my bachelor's I decided to switch fields, I am now doing the masters ‘Science Communication’ and ‘Energy and Environmental Sciences’. This seemed like a perfect combination to me.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently doing an atmospheric data processing project. Using several datasets I am analyzing and comparing vertical profiles of COS (carbonyl sulfide). COS is one of the trace gasses with a very low abundance, but it has a very long lifetime in the stratosphere. Reaching the stratosphere it can form aerosols, which is only one of the reasons we are interested in this specific low abundant gas. My task now is to bring several COS profiles into one dataset so I can quantitatively compare them.
This is different from the lab project we thought of at first, but due to the corona-crisis we changed the goal of the project. I can’t take the lab home after all ;)

Is it your first or second research project?

In the EES master this is my first research project. However, in my bachelor’s I did a small research project as well, for 15 credits.

How’s it all going so far?

I think it is going quite well. It took some time to change the project to a project that can be done at home. However, now it is fixed I am progressing again. I hope to be done before the first of September, so I won’t have any study delays.

How did you come up with the topic that you’re investigating?

I was interested in atmospheric research. Via Harro Meijer I came in contact with Huilin Chen, who works with greenhouse gasses and related tracers. He had several very interesting topics to work on! I chose one of the ideas he suggested.

How have the EES courses helped you prepare for this research? Did you personally feel like there were any gaps?

I started my research while doing the course ‘Global Change’, given by Huilin Chen. This course fitted perfectly with the research I am doing now. The other courses I have taken so far had less influence on my research project, but they were definitely very interesting as well.

Has this research helped shape you towards a particular career path?

Right now, I am not sure yet in which direction I want to go, I still have 1,5 years to finish both my masters and to figure out where I want to go. This project has definitely helped me develop my research skills, which, I know for sure, will come handy with my second project!

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