Air Centre and Climate Change Research Centre

Looking at the effect of air pollution on grassland

Investigating air pollution

Air pollution is an issue of global importance and understanding its impact on the natural environment is one of the biggest challenges facing biologists.

Understanding the impact of air pollution
The OPAL Air Centre at Imperial College's Silwood Park campus in Berkshire is home to an experimental open-top study chamber where we have exposed plants to air pollutants, particularly ozone, in a controlled and measured way.

Our research has been focused on understanding the impact of pollution on individual plants, plant communities, and important ecological functions.


How is climate change affecting our natural world? What can we do about it?

Climate change is having a huge impact on the global ecosystem. It is an important driver of biodiversity loss - the process of animals and plants becoming extinct or disappearing from particular regions.

How will plants be affected?
The OPAL Climate Change Research Centre has investigated the effects of changing rainfall patterns on plant growth, species diversity and key ecosystem processes.

Since the chemical make-up of the atmosphere is changing alongside climate change, we have also been studying what happens when grassland ecosystems are faced with the double challenge of ozone exposure and drought.


Join in the OPAL Air Survey

Investigate lichens on trees and help scientists find out about local air pollution across the UK.

Take part in the survey


Join in the Water Survey

Pond skaterHow healthy is your local lake or pond? Identify the invertebrates that live there to find out.

OPAL Water Survey



The OPAL Air Centre and Climate Change Research Centre were led by Imperial College