A French researcher in NIES - Tsukuba
Franck Lefevre

My name is Franck Lefevre and this is my third stay with the Satellite Remote Sensing Team in NIES (National Institute for Environmental Studies). I came to Tsukuba this year as part of a three-month and a half Eco Frontier Fellowship awarded by the Environmental Agency of Japan. I am very pleased to have this new opportunity to be living in Japan and working in that team on the analysis of the ILAS (Improved Limb Atmospheric Spectrometer) data.

I am a French citizen, born and educated in Toulouse, now living in Paris. Although fairly small by Japanese standards (400,000 inhabitants), Toulouse is the 4th city in size in France, and is located in the south-west part of the country. It is considered as France's aircraft and aerospace capital with the presence of the National Space Agency (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiale: CNES), the National Civilian Aviation School, several other aircraft-oriented engineer schools, and of course the huge Aerospatiale site where the AIRBUS planes are put together and tested. Football (soccer) fans may also remember that Toulouse is the place where the Japanese national team played in 1998 its first World Cup match ever, unfortunately concluded by a 0-1 lost against Argentina…

After completing my PhD, I spent 18 months at NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, USA) where I had the chance to be initiated by Guy Brasseur to three-dimensional modelling of the stratospheric chemistry. I then returned to Toulouse where I obtained a permanent position as a CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) scientist in the Meteorological Office Research Center. After five years spent in that laboratory I decided to move to Paris where I have now been working for two and a half years. My lab, the "Service d'Aeronomie" is located within the "Universite Pierre and Marie Curie" campus on the Seine's left bank, near the "Quartier Latin", a 15-minute full-speed bicycle ride from the Belleville quarter where I live.

As a modeller, I heavily rely on observational data, which I use to initialise, to constrain, and to compare my calculations with. Among them the ILAS measurements are particularly invaluable, as they could give a continuous coverage of the chemical evolution of the 1996-1997 Arctic vortex, on which my work at NIES focuses. In 1998 and 1999 I followed invitations from Dr. Sasano and Dr. Nakajima to participate to the analysis of ILAS data by means of 3D model simulations. This year I am particularly interested in the profiles of nitric acid observed from ILAS, that I am comparing with my model calculations to derive information about polar stratospheric clouds, key factors in the process of stratospheric ozone depletion. All the simulations are performed on CGER's NEC SX-4 supercomputer on which I have installed the model.

Although I have come to Japan pretty often in the last four years, this is my first extended stay in wintertime and I especially like it. Thanks to the great weather of the region at this time of year, which quite contrasts with the usual grey and rainy Parisian winter (not to mention the unbearable heat and daily downpours I experienced during the last summers in Tsukuba). The quasi-permanent blue sky makes bike rides out of Tsukuba particularly enjoyable (I recommend the steep climb up to the Tsukuban-san shrine), and I could satisfy my addiction to ski during a memorable 3-day trip in Happone. I am afraid I will need a new dose pretty soon though. In the mean time, if the weather does not cooperate, I will try to continue my exploration of Tokyo, a fascinating city and a great place to go out.