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Scholarly Interest Report
Gary Allen Morris
Adjunct Assistant Professor
  • Ph.D. (1995) Rice University
  • M.S. (1992) Rice University
  • A.B. (1989) Washington University
Primary Department
   Department of Physics and Astronomy
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Department Affiliations
  • Rice Space Institute
     Gary A. Morris (research projects and accomplishments)
     Physics 125
     Physics 126
    Research Areas
     Atmospheric dynamics modeling; ozone pollution
    Investigating Arctic Ozone Loss Using MATCH
     Using a combination of ozonesonde and satellite observations with a model of atmospheric dynamics, we are able to derive estimates of the chemical loss rate of ozone in the Arctic.

    The technique, called MATCH, was developed by European scientists and has been employed to Artic data for the last 12 years. Rex et al. have reported extremely large ozone loss rates using MATCH, rates that modelers cannot explain using currently accepted chemical reaction rates.

    We have been attempting first to duplicate the European results and second to improve upon the technique. Our initial results show loss rates of similar magnitude to those published by Rex et al, but our error bars are much larger.
    RU-TOPP Ozonesondes
     The Shell Center for Sustainability has funded us to launch ozonesondes in Houston to measure ozone pollution in the boundary layer through 2005.

    We will establish a permanent ozonesonde program in Houston with launches to occur at one of the airfields found near the city. These balloon observations will permit us to quickly establish a database of vertical ozone concentration profiles for Houston. Our data will be useful in assessing the full extent of the elevated ozone concentrations in Houston, a task impossible to accomplish through the existing ground-based network alone. In addition, our data will be extremely useful for validating data obtained through the other two sets of measurements described below.

    The existence of a functioning ozonesonde station in Houston will be helpful in soliciting funds from other agencies such as EPA and NASA, that latter of which will have money available in the summer of 2004 for satellite validation activities in polluted urban sites. When we submit our applications for funding of other related projects to these agencies, the existence of the ozonesonde program provides our applications significant advantages both by establishing our expertise in measuring ozone pollution.

    Undergraduate students will be involved throughout the project by assisting in the launches of ozonesondes, collecting the data, and sharing the data with the larger scientific community through existing protocols and the world-wide-web. The project will thereby provide students a first-hand experience with observations related to studies of sustainable growth and mobility, issues that can be explored further by these students in research projects that they develop in conjunction with the faculty associated with the project.
    Research in Physics Education (RIPE)
     This project identifies and examines common misconceptions in physics as held by students in the introductory level courses in an attempt to better address these specific problems in the lectures. We have conducted a series of interviews with 16 students from introductory physics classes at Rice (Physics 101/102 and 125/126) in order to investigate in some detail the misconceptions from which students suffer. These students participate in short, weekly, tape-recorded interviews during which the subjects solve concept-based physics problems and explain their solutions verbally. Transcriptions and analysis of these interviews provide insight into the thought patterns, common problems and misconceptions of introductory physics students.

    We also employ the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) as a pre- and post- instruction evaluation instrument to objectively assess what the students have learned. We have collected a large amount of data from students at Rice and have developed a research partnership with a graduate student in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Houston.

    We will be submitting a proposal to the National Science Foundation in 2004, the focus of which will be to use data from RIPE to create better diagnostic examinations for Newtonian mechanics and electricity and magnetism.
    Rice University - Tropopsheric Ozone Pollution Project
     Project Director: Dr. Gary Morris, Clinical Assistant Professor and Wiess Instructor of Physics, Rice University, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Houston, Texas.

    The Purpose: To Monitor and Understand Ozone Pollution in Houston

    Our goal is to develop an innovative apparatus for continuously measuring tropospheric ozone pollution as a function of altitude in the polluted urban environment of Houston, Texas. Once developed, this instrument would be deployed on the campus of Rice University, ideally located near the center of the city. The instrument will produce data permitting scientists to more fully understand the nature and extent of Houston¿s ozone pollution problem, enhancing society¿s chances of engineering effective policy and solutions. Furthermore, our data will be supplied to local media outlets to increase public awareness of the nature and extent of Houston¿s ozone pollution problem. A secondary consequence of this public outreach is that Rice University will be recognized as a center for understanding ozone pollution.

    The Problem: Health and Economic Consequences from Ozone Pollution

    A recent report from the American Lung Association ranked the Houston area as the 5th worst in the United States for ozone pollution. In the last several years, the evidence has mounted for a connection between high ozone pollution and the development of asthma in children (e.g. McConnell et al., The Lancet, 359, 9304, 2002). In addition to the health consequences, Houston area businesses are in jeopardy of serious and direct economic consequences from the frequently high levels of ozone pollution recorded around Houston. In particular, if Houston is unable to clean-up the ozone problem by 2005, federal law requires the imposition of fines (beginning in 2007 at a cost of nearly $30,000 per day) on all stationary sources of pollution, such as power plants and the chemical plants and refineries that are located around Galveston Bay and the ship channel. Houston¿s ozone pollution problem also has indirect negative economic consequences that are difficult to measure ¿ air quality can affect decisions that the national and international business community and individuals make about office locations and career choices respectively.

    The Project: Develop Instrumentation to Measure Ozone Pollution

    The data from the instrument that we propose to develop will provide insight into the nature and extent of Houston's ozone pollution problem far beyond that which the currently deployed ground-level ozone monitoring network can provide. Our innovative lidar system will allow us to measure ozone concentrations as a function of altitude in the boundary layer above the city of Houston. This system will permit us to monitor the ozone distribution nearly continuously, providing us with a better understanding of the sources and sinks of ozone pollution. Currently, the Houston area has no such permanent facility capable of measuring ozone pollution above the surface. The understanding of issues such as ozone transport and the prediction of high ozone events will be enhanced by data from our lidar system. Furthermore, our lidar system will permit insight into the fraction of the ozone pollution transported into or away from the Houston area, a primary concern for both Houstonians and inhabitants of surrounding communities.

    The Future: Rice University as a Focal Point of Urban Ozone Monitoring

    Upon the success of our experiment, Rice University will become a national focal point for understanding and monitoring urban ozone pollution. After establishing the viability of our instrument in a laboratory setting, we will develop a mobile version that will allow us to make measurements across the Houston area and in multiple locations on a given day. We will then build copies of our prototype for permanent deployment at other locations around the Houston area. In addition, we will simultaneously develop a partnership with private industry to re-engineer and market instruments based on the technology of our prototype. A local and nationwide network of such instruments would provide invaluable data for the communities in which they are deployed, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the scientific community at large.

    The Funding: Multi-Agency Funding

    The main source of funding for this project will come from the National Science Foundation¿s (NSF¿s) Major Research Instrumentation Program. In addition, we hope to secure secondary funding from the EPA, the State of Texas¿ Advanced Technology Program, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Collaborators at NASA Goddard will provide the laser system and telescope required for the construction of the instrument (valued at $100,000) in addition to their expertise and availability as consultants during the construction process. The application for the NSF grant is due in January 2004.

    The Partners: Broad Set of Experts to Participate

    This research project will involve a coalition of scientists at Rice University, the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Howard University, and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Dr. Gary Morris will organize the project. For the last decade, his research has focused on the modeling of atmospheric chemistry and dynamics. Currently Dr. Morris has a joint appointment at Rice University and the Goddard Earth Science and Technology Center at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Also participating in the project from Rice University are Dr. F. Barry Dunning (Chair of the Department of Physics & Astronomy) and Dr. Matthew Fraser (Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering). Faculty at UMBC and Howard University and experts from NASA Goddard will also participate substantially in this project.

    For More Information Contact: Dr. Gary Morris ¿ gmorris@rice.edu; 713-348-5727.
    RU-TOPP Microtops
     Using portable, hand-held devices, we have made measurements of the total column ozone in the Houston area during the Fall months of 2002 and 2003. Our goal is to determine whether or not these instruments are capable of detecting incidents of high urban ozone pollution.

    If the instruments are sensitive to ozone pollution, we will develop a proposal to the National Science Foundation to create a network of such instruments across the Houston area. Involvement of students from local schools will be an essential part of the program. Students will learn about ozone pollution from programmed talks as well as first-hand while making measurements.
    Teaching Areas
     introductory physics; atmospheric physics
    Selected Publications

    Branum-Martin, L, G.A. Morris, N. Harshman, and S. Baker "Applying Modern Statistical Techniques to the Force Concept Inventory." 126th AAPT National Meeting (2003)


    Morris, G.A., M.R. Schoeberl, and B. Bojkov "Diagnosing Ozone Loss During AASE2 with an Alternate to MATCH." EOS Transactions AGU, 84 (Spring Meeting Supplement)

     Refereed articles

    Morris, G.A., M.R. Schoeberl, J.E. Rosenfield, and C.H. Jackman "The potential impact of subsonic and supersonic aircraft exhaust on water vapor in the lower stratosphere assessed via a trajecotry model." Journal of Geophysical Research, 108 (D3) (2003/Feb) : 10.1029/20002JD002614.


    Gleason, J. F., Russell, III, J. M., Schoeberl, M. R., McCormick, J. P., Morris, G. "A Comparison of HALOE V19 with SAGE II V6.00 Ozone Observations Using Trajectory Mapping." J. Geophys. Res., 107 (D13) (2002)


    Schoeberl. M. R., Rosenfield, J. E., Jackman, C. H., Morris, G. "The Potential Impact of Subsonic and Supersonic Aircraft exhaust on Water Vapor in the Lower Stratosphere Assessed via a Trajectoru Model." J. Geophys. Res (2002) In Press


    G. A. Morris, J. F. Gleason, J. M. Russell, III, M. R. Schoeberl, M. P. McCormick "A comparison of HALOE V19 and SAGE II V6.00 ozone observations using trajectory mapping." J. Geophys. Res. (accepted, Nov. 2001)


    G. A. Morris, M. R. Schoeberl, J. E. Rosenfield, C. H. Jackman "The potential impact of subsonic and supersonic aircraft exhaust on water vapor in the lower stratosphere assessed via a trajectory model." J. Geophys. Research (under revision, 2001)


    L. J. Neef, G. A. Morris, L. C. Sparling and M. R. Schoeberl "Characterization of subsonic aircraft exhaust removal from the middleworld using a Lagrangian approach." J. Geophys. Res. (in preparation, 2001)


    G. A. Morris, J. Ziemke, J. Gleason, and M.R. Schoeberl "Trajectory mapping: A tool for satellite data validation." J. Geophys. Res., 105 (2000) : 17,875-17,894.


    M. R. Schoeberl and G. A. Morris "A Lagrangian simulation of subsonic and supersonic aircraft exhaust emissions." J. Geophys. Res., 105 (2000) : 11,833-11,839.


    A. E. Dessler, D. B. Considine, G. A. Morris, M. R. Schoeberl, A. E. Roche, J. L. Megenthaler, J. M. Russell, J. W. Waters, J. C. Gille, and G. K. Yue "Correlated observations of HCl and ClONO2 from UARS and implications for stratospheric chlorine partitioning." Geophys. Res. Lett., 22 (1995) : 1721-1724.


    G. A. Morris, D. B. Considine, A. E. Dessler, S. R. Kawa, A. E. Roche, J. Kumer, and J. M. Russell III "Nitrogen partitioning in the middle stratosphere as observed by the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite." J. Geophys. Res., 102 (1997) : 8955-8965.


    G. A. Morris, M. R. Schoeberl, L. Sparling, P. A. Newman, L. R. Lait, L. Elson, J. Waters, A. E. Roche, J. Kumer, and J. M. Russell III "Trajectory mapping and applications to data from the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite." J. Geophys. Res., 100 (1997) : 491-505.


    G. A. Morris, S. R. Kawa, A. R. Douglass, M. R. Schoeberl, L. Froidevaux and J. Waters "Low ozone "pockets" explained." J. Geophys. Res., 103 (1998) : 3599-3610.


    G. J. Byrne, J. R. Benbrook, E. A. Bering, A. A. Few, G. A. Morris, W. J. Trabucco, and E. W. Paschal "Ground-based instrumentation for measurements of atmospheric conduction current and electric field at the South Pole." J. Geophys. Res., 98 (1993) : 2611-2618.

     Invited Talks

    "An Overview of the Rice University Tropospheric Ozone Pollution Project (RU-TOPP)." The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL. (Nov. 11, 2003)


    "Arctic Ozone Loss in 1992 and 2000." Dept. of Natural Sciences, University of Virginia's College at Wise, Wise, VA. (Nov. 14, 2003)


    "Evaluating Arctic Ozone Loss During the Winters of 1992 and 2000." Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, Rice University, Houston, TX. (Sept. 24, 2003)


    "Using Trajectory Mapping to Diagnose Ozone Loss in the Arcitc Winter." Dept. of Physics, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY. (Mar. 3, 2003)


    "Applying Modern Statistical Techniques to the Force Concept Inventory." American Association of Physics Teachers National Meeting, Austin, TX. (January 11 - 15, 2003) With Branum-Martin, L., Harshman, N., Baker, S.


    "Understanding MATCH During AASE2 and SOLVE." Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Branch, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. (Aug. 14, 2003) With M.R. Schoeberl, B. Bojkov, and M. Rex


    "Tropospheric Ozone, Part I: Preliminary Results Using TOMS, HALOE, SAGE II, and Trajectory Mapping." Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Branch NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. (July 26, 2001)


    "Comparison of SAGE II (V6.00 and V5.93) and HALOE (V19) Ozone Data Using Trajectory Mapping." Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, Valparaiso University. (September 15, 2000)


    "Comparison of SAGE II (V6.00 and V5.93) and HALOE (V19) Ozone Data Using Trajectory Mapping." Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Branch, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. (July 26, 2000)


    "Graduate School in the Sciences." Valparaiso University. (April 5, 2000)


    "Using a Dynamical Model to Validate Satellite Observations of Ozone." Dept. of Physics, Rice University. (February 11, 2000)


    "Using a Dynamical Model to Validate Satellite Observations of Ozone." Dept. of Physics, James Madison University. (February 22, 2000)


    "Evaluating Arctic Ozone Loss During AASE/2 and SOLVE Using MATCH." SOLVE II/Vintersol Joint Science Team Meeting, Orlando, FL. (Oct. 21 - 24, 2003) With M.R. Schoeberl and B. Bojkov

    Awards, Prizes, & Fellowships
     Outstanding Faculty Award, Rice Pre-Medical Society (April 2003)