MAQ-11306 Air Quality


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Excursion (one day)5
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. MK van der Molen
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. MC Krol
dr. ir. LWA van Hove
dr. ir. MK van der Molen
Examiner(s)dr. ir. MK van der Molen

Language of instruction:


Continuation courses:

Courses MAQ, Courses ESA.


The course is directed at understanding specific air quality issues at the local and urban scale, the regional scale and the global scale. At all scales the focus is on the complete cycle of natural and anthropogenic air pollutants, i.e. what happens between emission, transport in the atmosphere, chemical conversions and deposition on the land/ocean surface, with explicit attention for the effects on human and environmental health, as well as the feasibility of alternatives and the efficiency of regulation and policy. The role of meteorology on air pollution mixing and transport is also explained on each scale. In other words, the complete emission-effect causality chain.
At the local scale the focus is on traffic and industrial emissions, the role of vegetation and photochemical smog. On the regional scale the focus is on acidification and eutrophication (the nitrogen problem). On the global scale the focus is on the ozone hole, the interaction of air pollutants, atmospheric radiation and global warming.
These air quality issues are supported by 5 practicals, explaining and quantifying chimney plumes, traffic pollution at the urban scale, aerosol effects on solar radiation, atmospheric chemistry and transport at urban and global scales. For two of those practicals you will collect your own data in the field.
The last week is the Project Week, during which you will choose a particular topic, explore it in detail and work towards an innovative solution, supported by explanations of the innovation process by the lecturers.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- collect and explain air quality measurements;
- operate five types of air quality models and interpret the results;
- explain the connections between air pollution and effects;
- describe the non-linear atmospheric processes, leading to non-linear response to emission abatement;
- discuss the emission-effect causality chain for different pollutants on different temporal and spatial scales;
- predict the capabilities and limitations of air quality models.


- attending lectures;
- participation in discussion on air pollution problems during lectures;
- collecting air quality field measurements; explaining those in associated practicals;
- practical use of models to investigate air pollution problems and the effect of abatement measures;
- participating in the Project Week, and presenting the results in small groups.


- written exam (60% but at least 5.5);
- evaluation of the results of practical work on models and the Project Week (40%).


Manual's for course and practical.
Lecture notes.
Hewitt,C.N.; Jackson, A.V. (2009). Atmospheric Science for Environmental Scientists. Wiley-Blackwell. 300p. ISBN: 978-1-4051-5690-5.

Compulsory for: BESEnvironmental SciencesBSc1MO