MAQ-11306 Air Quality


Credits 6.00

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

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety

Continuation courses:

Courses MAQ: (e.g.: MAQ-21806 Meteorology and Climate, MAQ-23306 System Earth: Scale Dependence, Feedbacks and Global Change, MAQ-34806 Atmospheric Composition and Air Quality, MAQ-31806 Atmospheric Modelling, MAQ-35306 Urban Hydrometeorology, MAQ-35806 Earth System Modelling), Courses ESA.


The course is directed at understanding specific air quality issues in 3 themes: 1) at the global, 2) regional and 3) local (urban) scale. At each scale the focus is understanding the life cycle of natural and anthropogenic air pollutants, i.e. the processes behind emission, transport in the atmosphere, chemical conversions and deposition on the land/ocean surface. The role of meteorology on air pollution mixing and transport is explicitly explained on each scale. We will pay attention at the effects on human and environmental health, as well as the feasibility of alternatives and the efficiency of regulation and policy. On the global scale the focus is on the tropospheric chemistry, the greenhouse effect and stratospheric ozone. On the regional scale the focus is on deposition of air pollutants (clouds, precipitation, wet deposition, dry deposition), acidification and eutrophication, with ample examples by means of the nitrogen cycle. At the local scale the focus is on traffic and industrial emissions, the role of vegetation and photochemical smog.
Each theme is completed with a tutorial, in which you will practice problem solving as exam training.

The air quality lectures are supported by practicals, which are closely linked to the lecture material. In those practicals air quality models are confronted with observations, some of which you will collect yourselves. The practicals include 1) Moguntia: a global air quality model, 2 Aerosol remote sensing, 3) building NO2 samplers, collecting concentration data and confronting them with the national model, 4) air quality modelling in the atmospheric boundary layer (regional scale), and 5) the Gaussian plume model, confronted with black carbon observations. The last week is the Project Week, during which you will deepen a topic of your own choice.

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; participating in the tutorials; participating in the practicals;
- 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 at various scales and the effect of abatement measures;
- participating in the Project Week, and presenting the results in small groups.


- written examination (60% but at least 5.5);
- evaluation of the results of practicals (25%) ;
- presentation results of the Project Week (15%).


MAQ11306 Air Quality Practical Manual (bookstore)

Lecture slides + associated documents (Brightspace)

Your lecture notes.

Compulsory for: BESEnvironmental SciencesBSc1MO