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GAW Activities in Malaysia

Monitoring and Research Activities of the Global Atmosphere Watch Station, Bukit Atur, Danum Valley, Sabah.

1.0 Introduction

The World Meteorological Department (WMO) Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Station in Danum Valley, Sabah was established by the Malaysian Meteorological Department in collaboration with and support from Yayasan Sabah for the monitoring of background concentrations of atmospheric parameters.

The construction of the GAW station began in 2002 was completed at the end of 2003 and began operations in 2004. The station was established to make reliable, comprehensive observations of the chemical composition and selected physical characteristics of the atmosphere on a global scale and to provide the scientific community with the means to predict future atmospheric states.

The Danum Valley GAW station is one of 23 such global stations in the WMO GAW monitoring network. This monitoring network conducts systematic monitoring of atmospheric chemical composition and related physical parameters on a global and regional scale. The network also conducts analysis and assessment in support of environmental conventions and future policy developments. 

2.0 Monitoring Activities

Since the establishment of the GAW Station in 2004, a number of monitoring systems were installed and activities initiated. The systems at the GAW station consists of (i) Lo-Flo Mark II Carbon Dioxide system (ii) Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalance (TEOM) system (iii) Multi-Angle Absorption Photometer (MAAP) (iv) Nephelometer (v) Ecotech wet-only sampler (vi) filter pack sampling system (vii) persistent organic pollutant passive sampler (viii) surface ozone analyzer (ix) automatic weather system (AWS) (x) vertical wind profile system and (xi) Precision Filter Radiometer (PFR) system.

Providing a link between the system at the station with MMD headquarters in Petaling Jaya and other internet terminals is a VSAT communication system.

Future plans for the station include greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring by flask sampling. 

 2.1 Lo-Flo Mark II Carbon Dioxide system

Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration at three heights at the Danum Valley GAW Station is measured by the Australian made CSIRO Lo-Flo Mark II Carbon Dioxide analyzer which is an integrated system constructed based on the LI-COR Inc. non dispersive infrared (NDIR) analyzer optical bench.

With the data collected by this system, beginning from 2006, CO2 and greenhouse gas data from the GAW site in Danum Valley are submitted every six months to teh WMO World Data Centre for Greenhouse Gases in Japan.

2.2 Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalance (TEOM) system

The TEOM system made by Rupprecht and Patashnick Co. Inc. is a real time instrument for measuring the particulate concentration of particulate smaller than 10 micron in diameter in outdoor and indoor ambient air. It is true gravimetric instrument that draws air through a filter at a constant flow rate, continuously weighing the filter and calculating near real-time mass concentration.

2.3 Multi-angle Absorption Photometer (MAAP)

The MAAP black carbon monitor manufactured by Thermo Electron Corporation measures ambient and source black carbon concentrations and aerosol light absorption properties. The measurements are based on the principle of aerosol-realted light absorption and the corresponding atmospheric black carbon mass concentration. The system uses a multi-angle absorption photometer to analyse the modification of radiation fields in the forward and back hemisphere of a glass-fibre caused by deposited particles.

2.4 Nephelometer

The Ecotech manufactured M9003 Nephelometer is designed for the measurement of the coefficient of light back scattering due to suspended particulate matter in air. Measurement of this parameter gives an indication of the visibility of the surrounding area automatically without the need for an observer. Light back scattering amount is also an important measure of the aerosol concentration in the atmosphere.

2.5 Ecotech wet-only sampler

The Ecotech wet-only rainwater sampler was specially designed for acid rain monitoring studies. Installed since the station was established, the wet-only sampler is used mainly to monitor rain water composition and acidity in remote location like Danum. Rainwater samples collected by the sampler is sent to the Department of Chemistry for analysis as there no laboratory facilities in Danum for the analysis of such low concentration chemical species in rainwater.

2.6 Filter pack sample system

The filter pack sample system is for monitoring dry acid deposition and forms part of the EANET program to monitor dry acid deposition at a remote site. The filter pack method has been adopted for dry deposition monitoring programs in many countries.

The filter pack samples aerosols which are collected at the first of four stages in the filter pack sampler. The second stage filter is designated to collect nitric acid in the gas phase and the third stage collects sulphur dioxide and hydrochloric acid. Finally, the fourth stage of the filter pack collects ammonia gas. The collected aerosols and gas species are analysed and its concentration in air is determined.

2.7 Persistent organic pollutant passive sampler

Monitoring persistent organic pollutants (POPs) by passive sampling is part of the Global Atmospheric Passive Sampling (GAPS) study which showed that passive air samplers are viable collectors for assessing the worldwide distribution of POPs, by siting them across seven continents.

Danum Valley is one of the global sites selected for the study which started in 2005 and entering into the third year of the study which produced some interesting results on the transport and concentration POPs in the atmosphere. In addition, these passive samplers are becoming the official method of looking at the spatial distribution and long term trends of POPs.

2.8 Surface ozone analyser

As tropospheric ozone is the third important greenhouse gas and ozone near the surface is a toxic gas to human health and vegetation, the MMD has embarked on a program to monitor and study the impact of this gas in the country including at a remote location such as Danum Valley. With this objective, the MMD has just installed the latest Thermo Environment 49i Ozone Analyser at the GAW station to monitor the hourly surface ozone concentration at this remote site.

2.9 Automatic weatehr system (AWS) 

The AWS measure the routine meteorological parameters of the GAW station site. Meteorological measurements made by the AWS represent the meteorological conditions of the GAW site and its area surrounding it. Meteorological parameters measured and recorded every minute are (i) surface wind velocity (ii) temperature (iii) relative humidity and (iv) solar radiation.

2.10 Vertical wind profile system

The vertical wind profile system consist of a ultrasonic anemometer for measuring three dimensional wind velocity, two cup anemometers for measuring horizontal wind velocity and three couples for measure temperatures at three different levels on the meteorological tower.

This system is part of the meteorological monitoring program of the OP3 project for studying the vertical flux of emission from the surface boundary layer of the area.

3.0 Research Activities

Since 2004, the year when the Danum Valley GAW Station was completed and operational, a number of research projects were initiated in cooperation and collaboration with a number of local as well as international institutions. Among the international and programs are;

(i) East Asia Acid Deposition Monitoring Network (EANET)

(ii) Global Air Sampling Study (GAPS)

(iii) Twinning Program with World Calibration Center for Physical Aerosol Properties (WCCPAP)

(iv) "Oxidant and Particle Photochemical Processes above a south-east Asian tropical rain forest", OP3 Project


3.1 East Asia Acid Deposition Monitoring Network (EANET)

EANET is a long term project to monitor and assess the impact of acid deposition on a regional scale. The objectives of EANET are;

  • To create a common understanding of the state of the acid deposition problems in East Asia
  • To provide useful inputs for decision making at local, national and regional levels aimed at preventing or reducing adverse impacts on the environment caused by acid deposition
  • To contribute to cooperation on the issued related to acid deposition among the participating countries

3.2 Global Air Sampling Study (GAPS)

The aim of GAPS is to create a network of sites, mainly GAW Baseline Stations for studying the spatial and temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the global atmosphere. The POPs targeted in this study are dioxins and organic compound pesticides but other chemical species may also be explored.

3.3 Twinning Program with World Calibration Center for Physical Aerosol Properties (WCCPAP)

This program was initiated to enhance the aerosol monitoring and research activities at Malaysian Meteorological Department Danum Valley Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Station and more important, to generate a complete set of high long term aerosol data to detect global changes and support climate modeling.

The program is also to build capacity in the partner organization in aerosol monitoring and research.

3.4 "Oxidant and Particle photochemical processes above a south-east Asian tropical rain forest", OP3 Project

The GAW station will be the main monitoring and research site for the OP3 project during the campaign phase. Initial measurements and sampling are being conducted at the site.  









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