MAQ-34806 Atmospheric Composition and Air Quality


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Practical intensively supervised24
Course coordinator(s)dr. KF Boersma
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. MC Krol
dr. KF Boersma
Examiner(s)dr. KF Boersma

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Basic Structure and Physics of Atmosphere.

Continuation courses:

MAQ-31806 Atmospheric Modeling; MAQ-50401 Capita Selecta Meteorology and Air Quality; MAQ-71324 MSc Internship Air Quality and Atmospheric Chemistry; MAQ-81324 MSc Thesis Air Quality and Atmospheric Chemistry; ESS-32306 Earth System Modelling.


This course gives students the knowledge and skills to understand today's most pressing issues in atmospheric chemistry and air quality. This includes the chain of processes that occur between emissions of pollutants from natural and anthropogenic sources, and their effect on ecosystems, human health, and the composition of the atmosphere. Special emphasis is on quantifying the effects of air pollution through acquisition and analysis of field measurements, and through numerical modelling of the processes involved (e.g., transport, chemistry, deposition, biogeochemical cycles). Sources, effects and possible abatement measures of local air pollution, acid deposition, eutrophication, ozone in troposphere and stratosphere (the Antarctic ozone hole) and climatic change are explained.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the global cycles of oxygen (O), carbon (C) and nitrogen (N);
- calculate conversion rates and chemical equilibria for simple photochemical interactions;
- explain the emission/effect causality chain for different pollutants in different scales of space and time;
- apply the concepts of emissions, residence time, lifetime, and distance of transport to set up a mass balance;
- analyse time series of air pollutant measurements and identify the main processes affecting them;
- apply four types of frequently used air pollution models.


- attending lectures;
- participation in discussion on air pollution problems during lectures;
- work out tasks in quantitative calculations;
- practical use of models to investigate air pollution problems and the effect of abatement measures.


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


Reader for practicals; Blackboard site with:
Lecture notes in PDF; Practical calculations: questions + answers.
D.J. Jacob (1999 and last modified 2004). Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistrry. Princeton University Pres. ISBN-10: 0691001855.

Restricted Optional for: BSWSoil, Water, AtmosphereBSc2AF
MEEEarth and EnvironmentMSc2AF
MESEnvironmental SciencesMSc2AF
MCLClimate StudiesMSc2AF