David Oram


  • 01.37D Sciences

Personal profile


I graduated from the University of York in 1985 with an Honours degree in Chemistry. Since then I have worked and studied at UEA, obtaining an M.Sc. in Atmospheric Science in 1987, followed by a Ph.D. I currently have a postdoctoral research position within the Atmospheric Composition Directorate of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) and am based in the Trace Gas Laboratory which forms part of LGMAC.

I have many years experience making measurements of atmospheric trace gases using a variety of analytical techniques, including gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC-MS). One of my main research interests is in the global distribution and temporal trends of natural and anthropogenic halocarbons in the background atmosphere. Halocarbons are largely responsible for the observed depletion of stratospheric ozone and, as a result, the production of many of these chlorine and bromine-containing compounds has been phased out under the terms of the Montreal Protocol. In addition, some halocarbons are potent greenhouse gases and have been included in the recent Kyoto Protocol, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10-20 years. Air samples are routinely collected from various locations and platforms around the world, including aircraft (CARIBICFAAM), ships and selected ground-based stations (Cape Grim, Tasmania; Mace Head, Ireland; Weybourne, UK). The halocarbon data have featured regularly in international scientific assessments, including the quadrennial WMO/UNEP Assessment of Stratospheric Ozone Depletion and various IPCC reports on greenhouse gases and climate change.

More recently I have been using a relatively-new technique (proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry, or PTR-MS) for making measurements of other types of volatile organic compounds (e.g. hydrocarbons, oxygenated hydrocarbons) in the atmosphere. These compounds play an important role in the photochemical production of ozone in the troposphere. Currently we have one ground-based instrument, which is deployed at the Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory for long-term observations; and one aircraft instrument, which operates during intensive flying campaigns on the UK atmospheric research aircraft (FAAM). In recent years these campaigns have included deployments in the Azores (ICARTT, 2004) and West Africa (AMMA, 2006). 

Additional Contacts

Fax: +44 (0)1603 591327

Key Research Interests

Atmospheric composition and chemistry; global distribution, sources and temporal trends of ozone-depleting chemicals and greenhouse gases; role of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and oxygenated VOCs in tropospheric chemistry; analytical techniques for atmospheric measurements including GC, GC-MS and PTR-MS.

Significant Publications

  • Oram, D.E., (2005). Chlorofluorocarbons and other halocarbons, in Encyclopedia of Analytical Science, Second Edition (Paul J. Worsfold, Alan Townshend and Colin F. Poole, eds.), Elsevier, Oxford, Vol. 2, pp. 80-89.
  • Krol, M.C., J. Lelieveld, D.E. Oram, G.A. Sturrock, S.A. Penkett, C.A.M. Brenninkmeijer, V. Gros, J. Williams and H.A. Scheeren (2003). Continuing emissions of methyl chloroform from Europe, Nature, 421, 131-135.
  • Sturges, W.T., T.J. Wallington, M.D. Hurley, K.P. Shine, K. Sihra, A. Engel, D.E. Oram, S.A. Penkett, R. Mulvaneyand C.A.M. Brenninkmeijer (2000). A potent greenhouse gas identified in the atmosphere: SF5CF3Science, 289, 611-613, DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5479.611.
  • Fraser, P.J., D.E. Oram, C.E. Reeves, S.A. Penkett and A. McCulloch (1999). Southern hemispheric halon trends (1978-1998) and global halon emissions, J. Geophys. Res., 104, 15985-15999, DOI: 10.1029/1999JD900113.
  • Oram, D.E., W.T. Sturges, S.A. Penkett, A. McCulloch and P.J. Fraser (1998). Growth of fluoroform (CHF3, HFC-23) in the background atmosphere, Geophys. Res. Lett., 25, 35-38, DOI: 10.1029/97GL03483.
  • Oram, D.E., C.E. Reeves, P.J. Fraser and S.A. Penkett (1995). Measurements of HCFC-142b and HCFC-141b in the Cape Grim air archive: 1978-1993, Geophys. Res. Lett., 22, 2741-2744, DOI: 10.1029/95GL02849.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or