Model-based Policy Advice for Air Quality

Clean air is critical to human well-being. Nevertheless, air quality standards are breached in many major cities on a regular basis. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 90 per cent of European city dwellers are exposed to levels of air pollution harmful to human health, and several million premature deaths worldwide can be attributed to air pollution every year. Research has also shown that air pollutants such as black carbon, methane, and ozone are all significant factors in global warming. The inclusion of clean air in the catalogue of goals and targets that constitutes the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals reflects the vital importance of these issues.

Reducing air pollution in urban areas

In cooperation with its partners, “Model-based Policy Advice for Air Quality” investigates how air quality is affected by changes in the emissions of various air pollutants and considers the consequences for human and environmental health. To learn more about the sources and effects of air pollutant emissions, the researchers analyse data from multiple air quality models. Their findings will be used to develop recommendations for targeted measures to improve air quality major European cities. Further research conducted within the scope of this project explores the interactions between air pollution and climate change.

Science-based policy advice for cleaner air

This research project seeks to set new standards for science-based policy advice to improve air quality in Europe The research team will provide practical support around relevant policy processes such as the establishment of limit values for ground-level ozone and other air pollutants. There are ties between this project and other research under way at the IASS, including to the project “Climate Change and Air Pollution: Research Needs and Pathways to Policy Implementation”, which addresses air quality issues in the Berlin-Potsdam region. The findings of this research will be published in scientific journals, conference presentations, and publications by the IASS.


01/2017 to 12/2020

Project partners:

  • FU Berlin
  • University of Potsdam
  • DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics
  • Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research – Atmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU)
  • National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Berlin Senatsverwaltung
  • German Federal Environment Agency


Air quality, climate change, emissions, scenarios, modelling, ozone, cities


Scientific Project Leader: Dr Tim Butler

Research Associates: Dr Aurelia Lupascu, Jane Coates, Dr Jörn Quedenau, Friderike Kuik, Noelia Otero, Lindsey Weger.

Supervising Directors: Prof. Mark Lawrence, Prof. Ortwin Renn

Team Assistant: Tanja Baines