Numerical Modelling

Air pollution is currently the largest environmental risk factor for premature death, with over 3 million people dying annually worldwide from the effects of ambient air pollution. Air pollutant gases such as tropospheric ozone and its precursor, methane, can act as greenhouse gases, trapping heat in the atmosphere (similar to carbon dioxide, although much shorter-lived). Atmospheric aerosols (responsible for pollution haze) play an important role in the climate by absorbing and scattering solar radiation (direct aerosol effect) as well as serving as condensation nuclei during cloud formation. Aerosols therefore also affect cloud microphysical properties and cloud lifetime (indirect aerosol effect). Depending on the degree to which they scatter or absorb sunlight, aerosols can either cool or warm the Earth’s climate. The most important absorbing (and thus warming) aerosols in the atmosphere are black carbon (BC) aerosols. Atmospheric lifetimes of aerosol particles are typically measured in days to weeks.
The mitigation of SLCPs can contribute to a reduction of near-term warming while simultaneously improving human and ecosystem health. This is due to their short atmospheric lifetimes. The numerical modelling group conducts research with global, regional, and box models into the fundamental processes that drive the emissions, concentrations, and impacts of SLCPs on air quality and climate. Together with stakeholder partners, options for mitigating the adverse effects of these SLCPs are developed and assessed.