UCL Department of Geography


Nana Wei

Research Title

Characterizing Reactive Nitrogen Sources and Abundances in Under-Sampled Regions of the World using NASA Aircraft, Satellite Observations, and 3D Global Modelling  

More about Nana

Academic History

  • 2020 - present: PhD in Physical Geography, University College London 
  • 2017 - 2018: MSc Applied Geographical Information Systems (GIS), University of Sheffield 

I am a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant on the following module: 


Publications in progress

  • Nana Wei, Eloise A. Marais et al., Characterising reactive nitrogen in the global upper troposphere from NASA DC8 campaigns and GEOS-Chem 
  • Nana Wei, Eloise A. Marais et al., Deriving NOx emissions in African cities using the space-based TROPOMI instrument 
  • Rebekah Horner, Eloise Marais, Nana Wei et al., Retrieval and validation of global tropospheric nitrogen dioxide (NO2) vertical profiles obtained via cloud-slicing TROPOMI partial columns. 
  • Robert Ryan, Eloise Marais and Nana Wei, Addressing model uncertainty in upper tropospheric NOx.  

Research presentations

  • November 2023: poster at iCACGP-IGAC 2023 ECR Online Conference, Virtual, UK 
  • August 2023: talk at the 2nd GEOS-Chem Europe Regional Meeting (GCE2), London, UK 
  • September 2022: talk at the IGAC Science Conference, Manchester, UK 
  • June 2022: poster at the 10th International GEOS-Chem Meeting (IGC10), WUSTL, USA 
  • September 2021: poster at IGAC Science Conference, Virtual, UK, Awarded the Early Career Scientist Honorary Mention 
  • April 2021: talk at the EGU Conference, Virtual, UK 
Research Interests

I am part of the UCL Atmospheric Chemistry and Air Quality research group. My research in the group focuses on characterizing reactive nitrogen sources and abundances in under-sampled regions of the world. The presence of NOy significantly impacts global climate, air quality, and the self-cleansing capacity of the entire troposphere. Despite its crucial role, substantial uncertainties regarding NOy concentrations in the global upper troposphere persist, as evidenced by disparities between observational data and model predictions. 

To address this issue, my first research project uses data from NASA and commercial aircraft with 3D global atmospheric transport modeling to better characterize the global abundance of reactive nitrogen compounds in the upper layers of the troposphere, as it’s in this portion of the atmosphere that reactive nitrogen is very effective at forming the greenhouse gas ozone and where ozone has its greatest impact on Earth’s climate. 

My second research project centres on quantifying precursor emissions of reactive nitrogen in rapidly developing African cities. These cities lack routine, up-to-date, and publicly available inventories of reactive nitrogen emissions, even though reactive nitrogen is known to produce air pollutants harmful to health and the natural environment. To calculate these emissions, I apply inversion methods developed in the research group to satellite observations of reactive nitrogen to derive city-level emissions needed by policymakers to make well informed air quality regulation. 

Research Grants, Prizes and Awards
  • 2022–2023: UCL Geography Department PGR Conference Fund 

The project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC)