Kimberly Strong, FRSCProfessor of Physics
Experimental Atmospheric Physics;
Ground-Based, Balloon, and Satellite Remote Sounding of the Atmosphere
Telephone: (416) 946-3217
Fax: (416) 978-8905
Office: MP 710A
Labs: MP 038, 1202D, 1606A
Email: strong AT atmosp.physics.utoronto.ca
Address: Department of Physics, University of Toronto
Brief CVB.Sc., Department of Physics, Memorial University of Newfoundland (1986)
D.Phil., Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Planetary Physics Group, University of Oxford (1992)
Summer Student / Staff, International Space University (1988 / 1990)
Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Cambridge (1992-94)
Research Associate, Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, York University (1994-95)
Assistant Professor, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science, York University (1995-96)
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, University of Toronto (1996-2001)
Associate Professor, Department of Physics, University of Toronto (2001-2006)
Professor, Department of Physics, University of Toronto (2006- )
Visiting Fellow, Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, University of Wollongong (2010)
Member, Centre for Global Change Science, University of Toronto
Member, Graduate Faculty, School of the Environment, University of Toronto
Director, School of the Environment, University of Toronto (2013-2018)
Chair, Department of Physics, University of Toronto (2019-2024)
Past-President (2020-2021), President (2019-2020), and Vice-President (2018-2019), Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
Chair (2021-2024) and Vice-Chair (2020-2021), SNOLAB Institute Board of Directors
Fellow, Royal Society of Canada (2019)
Fellow, Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (2021)
Research InterestsIn recent years, the study of the atmosphere has received increasing attention, with issues such as stratospheric ozone depletion, climate change, and tropospheric pollution all having potential implications for the biosphere. In order to understand the processes occurring in the atmosphere, measurements of its composition are essential. My research involves ground-based, balloon, and satellite remote sounding using spectroscopic techniques to measure the concentrations of trace gases. This is an exciting area of research, as it gives us insight into fundamental atmospheric physics and chemistry, and also has relevance to our interaction with the environment.
Previous Projects:Near-infrared laboratory spectroscopy of methane in support of the Galileo mission to Jupiter
Ground-based ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy to measure the concentrations of stratospheric gases
Modelling the retrieval of vertical profiles of tropospheric gases using a ranging spectrometer
Intracavity laser spectroscopy using a Fourier transform spectrometer in step-scan mode for temporal resolution
Concept study for OH Measurements from Space (OHMS)
Middle Atmosphere Nitrogen TRend Assessment (MANTRA)
I was the Principal Investigator for this project, which involved the launch of high-altitude balloons from Vanscoy, Saskatchewan in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004. Each carried a payload of instruments to measure vertical concentration profiles of stratospheric trace gases. The data have been used to investigate the changing chemical balance of the mid-latitude stratosphere, focussing on ozone, and nitrogen and chlorine compounds that play a role in ozone chemistry. This project was a large collaborative effort involving Co-Investigators from Environment Canada (formerly the Meteorological Service of Canada), the University of Toronto, York University, the University of Waterloo, the University of Denver, the Service d'Aeronomie, CNRS (France), and Scientific Instrumentation Limited. MANTRA was supported by the Canadian Space Agency, Environment Canada, NSERC, and CRESTech.
Arctic Atmospheric Science: PEARL, CANDAC, and PAHA
I am one of the founding members of CANDAC – the Canadian Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Change, which has established the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) at Eureka, Nunavut (80°N) to comprehensively monitor the Arctic atmosphere from the ground to 100 km to study ozone depletion, climate change, and air quality. I was leader of one of our four original research themes: “Arctic Middle Atmosphere Chemistry” and am currently the Deputy PI for Probing the Atmosphere of the High Arctic (PAHA), funded for five years under NSERC’s CCAR program, as well as theme leader for “Composition Measurements” and lead scientist four of the instruments (Bruker Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer, two UV-visible grating spectrometers, Extended-range Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer). This builds on my previous work at Eureka, which is providing a long-term dataset for studying the evolution of Arctic atmospheric chemistry, with links to the NDACC, TCCON, and MUSICA networks. My group has deployed a UV-visible spectrometer in the Arctic every spring since 1999 to measure ozone, NO2, and BrO for studies of stratospheric ozone science, and we have played a key role in ensuring the continuity of the spring data record at Eureka. From 2010-2016, I was the Director for the NSERC CREATE Training Program in Arctic Atmospheric Science, which was closely affiliated with PEARL activities. In 2011, we contributed to the identification and quantification of severe stratospheric ozone loss in the Arctic using measurements by both the UV-visible and FTIR spectrometers at Eureka. Over the last several years, we have documented the transport of biomass burning products into the High Arctic, including the first long-term time series of ammonia in the high Arctic, measured greenhouse gases, investigated bromine explosion events and their impact on tropospheric ozone, and contributed to long-term trend studies.
Although the general mechanism for stratospheric ozone loss is now known, questions remain regarding the underlying chemical and dynamical processes, the potential for severe depletion in the Arctic, and the mechanisms for mid-latitude ozone loss. In order to address some of these questions, we have assembled a portable ground-based instrument to record UV-visible spectra of sunlight scattered from the zenith sky. A telescope can also be optically coupled to the spectrometer to allow night-time measurements using stars as sources of light. The resulting spectra are analyzed to retrieve vertical columns of ozone, NO2, OClO, and BrO using differential optical absorption spectroscopy, as well as vertical profiles of NO2. The instrument has been deployed on the ground during the four MANTRA campaigns and in springtime Arctic campaigns every year since 1999. All of the latter were at Environment Canada's former Arctic Stratospheric Observatory (now PEARL) at Eureka, Nunavut (80N), with one at Resolute Bay in 2002. This research is supported by NSERC, CFCAS, MSC, CSA, the Northern Scientific Training Program, and the Canadian Northern Studies Trust.
The University of Toronto Atmospheric Observatory (TAO)
At the University of Toronto Atmospheric Observatory (TAO), we are using solar infrared spectroscopy for long-term measurements of stratospheric and tropospheric trace gases, urban pollution and stratospheric chemistry studies, and satellite validation. We have been operating a Bomem DA8 high-resolution Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer at TAO since October 2001. TAO was approved as a Station of the Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC) in March 2004, based on a refereed algorithm and data comparison exercise. TAO data have contributed to validation of ACE-FTS, SCIAMACHY, and OSIRIS, the first detection of NO in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere using ground-based FTIR spectroscopy, and studies of chlorine trends, polar intrusions, tropospheric transport of pollutants over Toronto, and recently attribution of enhanced ethane and methane to the development of oil and natural gas extraction in North America. TAO and PEARL have the only two NDACC FTIR instruments in Canada, and are key sites in the CAnadian FTir Observing Network (CAFTON), for which I was the PI. TAO has received support from the University of Toronto, CFI, ORDCF, CRESTech, NSERC, ABB Bomem, CFCAS, and PREA.
Ultraviolet-Visible-Infrared Laboratory Spectroscopy
We operate a Laboratory Spectroscopy Facility that has been established to measure absorption features of gases of atmospheric interest. Several gas absorption cells, along with transfer optics and a cooling system, have been designed and built, and are coupled to a lab-based Bomem DA8 FTIR spectrometer to acquire spectra at high spectral resolution and at temperatures relevant to the atmosphere. We have studied the temperature dependence of the pressure broadening and pressure-induced shift coefficients of CO. We have also measured the infrared cross sections of the fluorotelomer alcohols 1:2, 4:2 and 6:2 FTOH, in collaboration with colleagues at Ford Motor Company and Dupont Central Research and Development. We have derived absorption cross sections of several (hydro)chlorofluorocarbons and other infrared-active species such as peruorotributyalamine, motivated by the need for such data in order to retrieve accurate atmospheric measurements from ACE-FTS spectra and to improve calculations of global warming potentials. This work has been supported by NSERC and the Canadian Space Agency.
SCISAT-1 and the ACE-FTS and MAESTRO Satellite Instruments
The Canadian Space Agency's Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) was launched in August 2003, carrying the ACE-FTS and MAESTRO instruments, to investigate the chemical and dynamical processes that control the distribution of ozone in the upper troposphere and stratosphere, with a focus on the decline of stratospheric ozone at northern mid-latitudes and in the Arctic. Students and PDFs from my group participated in the pre-launch testing and calibration of MAESTRO and ACE-FTS which took place at the University of Toronto's Space Instrument Characterization Facility. I have been a Co-I since 1998, as well as co-leader (with Kaley Walker) of the ACE validation effort, which resulted in an extensive series of papers in a 2008-09 special issue of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. My interests lie in the assessment and interpretation of the ACE measurements, particularly of the six NOy species, for which I was subgroup leader for a large international team, and which led to the creation of a global inventory of stratospheric NOy from ACE-FTS data. As part of the validation effort, I am Co-Leader of the ACE/OSIRIS Arctic Validation Campaigns which have taken place at Eureka, Nunavut from February to April every year since 2004. This has resulted in a valuable assessment of the data quality from this mission.
Stratospheric Science with the Odin Satellite
Odin is a Swedish satellite, launched in February 2001, which carries a Canadian Optical Spectrograph and InfraRed Imager (OSIRIS) and a Sub-Millimetre Radiometer (SMR). One goal of the Odin mission is to resolve outstanding questions regarding polar and mid-latitude ozone depletion by making global measurements of the distributions of ozone and trace species. I became a Co-Investigator on the Canadian Aeronomy Science Team in 1997. I was involved in the development of algorithms for the inversion of OSIRIS spectra to retrieve vertical profiles of ozone and NO2. We have compared MANTRA, TAO, PEARL and ACE measurements with OSIRIS and SMR profiles. We also developed a new method to retrieve NO density profiles in the mesosphere-lower thermosphere region from OSIRIS nighttime NO2 continuum observations, along with temperature and atomic oxygen density profiles. These data have been compared to similar datasets from SMR and ACE-FTS, and with the CMAM, TIMED-GCM and WACCM models.
Studies of Planetary Atmospheres
My group has been involved in several projects related to better understanding of planetary atmospheres. In one, we worked on the modelling and retrieval of O2 and NO airglow emissions in the atmospheres of Mars and Venus, incorporating results from the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique Mars Global Circulation Model and the University of Michigan Venus Thermospheric general circulation model, quantifying detectable emissions, and comparing with observations from the SPICAM and SPICAV (SPectroscopy for the Investigation of the Atmosphere of Mars / Venus) instruments. Motivated by the possibility of sending an infrared spectrometer to Mars, we have developed techniques to retrieve vertical profiles of temperature and trace gases in the dusty, and therefore challenging, Martian atmosphere. In addition, we participated in the Mars Methane Mission, involving two field campaigns held in Quebec in June 2011 and 2012, operating spectrometers to identify methane sources in Martian-like terrains, in collaboration with McGill and industrial partner MPBC. Related to this, we analyzed the expected behaviour of a methane source on Mars, developing a dispersion model, determining current estimates for Martian source strengths, and assessing the spatial limitations for methane detection.
Selected list of papers, with copies available for download: Click here