20 April, 2020  |  Reading time: 6 minutes

Air Quality Network UK

AQNUK is a community of individuals from academia and practice involved in researching and disseminating information on air quality challenges in the UK.

AQN UK helps connect researchers from research, policy, industry and the third sector in the UK and abroad with expertise on outdoor and indoor air quality challenges in the UK and impacts on, and from, people, buildings, objects, infrastructure, flora and fauna.

Space4Climate co-founded and helps coordinate AQNUK, issuing quarterly the e-directory to members to help members from different pockets of air quality expertise, including those with expertise in use of emissions data from satellites, across research and practice, find each other.

Join the community

We welcome researchers and practitioners across all sectors, career stages and locations, keen to be part of an evolving knowledge-based community who, with respect to air quality challenges in the UK:

  • have researched and have data to share;
  • are actively engaged in researching; and/or
  • are actively involved in disseminating research

The e-directory enables members to search on a geographical as well as expertise topic basis.

You will receive on at least a quarterly, but no more frequently than a monthly basis, an e-directory of members’ details, along with community news and events. Sign up for AQN.

Satellite related activities

Satellite related UK air quality activities include:

Detection and Attribution of Regional greenhouse gas Emissions in the UK (DARE-UK)

DARE-UK is a research project to develop systems to estimate greenhouse gas emissions to improve the accuracy of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory reports. The project will also deliver policy-relevant information to track UK progress of the mitigation efforts to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement on Climate, in line with international cooperation mechanisms promoted by the WMO, the IPCC and the UNFCCC and will contribute to the Transparency Framework and the Global Stocktake.

The project focuses on three major greenhouse gases responsible for global warming: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). UK emissions are estimated based on land, ocean and atmospheric observations coupled with novel modelling techniques. DARE-UK will quantify more accurately carbon stocks and the fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) across the UK based on independent observations.

Project activities include:

  • Utilising new surface and satellite atmospheric GHG observations, such as isotopic measurements of methane and carbon dioxide, and measurements of co-emitted or exchanged gases (oxygen, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and ethane) to provide information on emissions from different sectors and integrating data streams to determine the highest level of confidence in the UK’s emissions estimate.
  • Improving models of emissions from individual source and sink sectors to determine when and where GHG emissions to the atmosphere occur from both natural and anthropogenic systems.
  • Accurate characterisation of the space-time variations of GHG fluxes, separating their anthropogenic and natural components and their drivers,  based on advanced modelling approaches using atmospheric GHG measurements, tracer transport inversions and various arrays of land observations, in-situ and from space.

The project, funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council, is led by Dr. Peter Levy, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. DARE-UK brings together the complementary expertise of 13 partners, among:

  • national inventory agencies
  • research institutes
  • in-situ infrastructures and
  • operational centres.

Space4Climate members involved: NERC, NCEO, NPL and PML

Find out more on the role of satellite data: Pope et al. 2019 “High resolution satellite observations give new view of UK air quality”. Paper available here.

Further information:  Website  |  Twitter: @uk_dare  |  Research project grant details

STFC Air Quality Network (SAQN)

SAQN is a multidisciplinary community of experts, researchers, policy makers and businesses that can leverage STFC research, capabilities and facilities to address air quality challenges.

SAQN facilitates the exploitation of the currently untapped potential of STFC capabilities to enhance and progress research into air pollution, particularly with relevance to impacts on human health and the environment.


  • Build a broad multidisciplinary network of STFC scientists and air pollution stakeholders including those from the public and private sector as well as academia and research institutes.
  • Promote the engagement of researchers with both industry and regulators/governments to drive mutual understanding and enable air pollution solutions development.
  • Increase awareness of STFC facilities and capabilities within the air pollution community.
  • Initiate lasting collaborations to leverage funding for cutting-edge air pollution research.
  • Provide a forum to share information to ensure that researchers across the UK are aware of each other’s activities, building links and ensuring maximum benefit from investments.

The work of the SAQN cuts across all parts of the air quality system, including indoor and outdoor air pollution; activities that contribute to improving any aspect of that complex landscape with the involvement of STFC science, facilities or expertise can be supported. Thematic areas covered:

  • Theme 1: Monitoring Air Pollution Emissions and Concentrations.
  • Theme 2: Air Pollution Modelling, Forecasting and Scenario Testing.
  • Theme 3: Impacts on Health and the Environment.
  • Theme 4: Developing and Evaluating Solutions and Innovation.

Space4Climate members involved: STFC, NCEO

Further information:  Website  |  Twitter: @STFC_AQN  |  Research project grant details


AQN UK was launched via newsletter to initial members on 24th December 2019. The AQN UK network was co-founded by Briony Turner (Space4Climate  group) and Gráinne McGill (Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit at The Glasgow School of Art).  The network, primarily the e-directory function, was created to help researchers from different pockets of air quality expertise, across research and practice, find each other, including emerging networks forming under the UKRI Clean Air: Analysis & Solutions programme.

A number of networks and initiatives are in the process of being set up by the UKRI  Clean Air: Analysis & Solutions programme which supports multidisciplinary research and innovation to stimulate practical and usable solutions for clean air through predictive understanding of future air quality challenges, a systems approach to analysis, new technologies, and innovative policy and practice interventions to benefit vulnerable groups, improve public health and support clean growth.  The programme is a £19·6 million collaboration led by NERC and the Met Office, with the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), Innovate UK, the Medical Research Council (MRC), the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Defra.


Air quality researchers, sign up for AQNUK

Related resources:


Find out more on the role of satellite data: Pope et al. 2019. High resolution satellite observations give new view of UK air quality.