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Modelling, Methods and Technologies for Air Quality Control (2016)

ECTS credits:
5 ECTS (comparable to a work load of about 150h)


Course parameters:
Language: The lectures, course material and exercises will all be in English
Level of course: The course is at PhD level and arranged within the cooperation of the EU COST Action TD1105 EuNetAir (
Time of year: The lectures will take place at AU Campus Emdrup during 19-22 April 2016 (Q2 2016)
No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like: The students will need to prepare by reading material comparable to about 40h work and prepare a poster about their PhD project (estimated to about 20h), lectures will take about 35h + 4 h poster sessions and after the course the students will need to carry out exercises and prepare a report with these (estimated to about 50h). This gives a total work load of about 150h which makes it a 5 ECTS course.
Capacity limit: 40 participants (13 of these with support from COST Action TD1105 EuNetAir).


Objectives of the course:
To provide the students a general introduction to the physical and chemical processes governing air pollution loads and levels in the ambient environment. Give a basic understanding of the applied measuring techniques and mathematic models used in research and management of air quality and its effects on health and environment. To provide the students’ knowledge on current and potential future uses of low-cost sensors in air quality monitoring and air quality management, and to train the students’ in presenting research in posters at international workshops and conferences.


Learning outcomes and competences:
At the end of the course, the student should have:

  • a basic understanding of the fundamental meteorological processes governing transport, dispersion and deposition of air pollution. The students will solve exercises that aim a understanding the impact of atmospheric stability on dispersion processes.
  • a basic understanding of the societal costs of health effects related to air pollution – methods behind current assessments, uncertainties and perspectives, as well as results obtained in recent years.
  • a basic understanding of chemical transformations governing air pollution related to both gas phase reactions and the international between gaseous and particulate pollutants in the atmosphere. The students will learn to solve exercises that will promote a deeper understanding of these processes including solving chemical transformations e.g. in street canyons.
  • a basic understanding of what are airborne particles, typical levels, and what are the main sources and sinks. The students will solve exercises on distribution functions of airborne particles.
  • a basic understanding of local scale air pollution modelling including plume models, urban scale models, computational fluid dynamic (CFD) models, and street canyon models. The students will be introduced to the most common parameterizations of local scale processes, validation procedures, limitations, uncertainties, obtaining necessary input parameters etc. The students will solve exercises training plume dispersion modelling.
  • a basic understanding of regional to long-range transport modelling of air pollution. The students will be introduced to common parameterizations of physical and chemical processes and applied numerical methods in Lagrangian and Eulerian model frames and solve exercises demonstrating the differences in principles, and they will hear about validation procedures, uncertainties and necessary input data. The students will learn about nested grid techniques in current Eulerian models, and be presented for results from recent calculations.
  • a basic understanding about data fusion and data assimilation procedures in combining measurements and model calculations. Focus is on the possibilities in crown sensing and linking such data to model calculations for mapping pollution levels e.g. in an urban area.
  • Emission inventories are necessary instruments in the negotiations between countries under the EU NEC (National Emission Ceilings) Directive, but they are also essential for air quality modelling. The students will be introduced to the methodologies, handling of temporal and spatial scales, uncertainties and shortcomings, as well as they will be presented for recent results.
  • the students will be introduced to air quality regulation – the most important EU regislation.
  • a basic understanding of the principles behind air quality management – concept, frameworks, methodologies and techniques. The students will be introduced to decision-support systems, analyses of field data and measurements from routine monitoring. The students will solve exercises on local scale modelling in specific assessment studies.
  • Finally the students will be introduced to current uses and perspectives on low-cost sensor applications in air quality monitoring and assessment. How applicable are current low-cost sensors, and what are the shortcomings and limitations as well as the opportunities.

Compulsory programme:
In order to receive diploma for the course, the students need to read the listed preparatory material, prepare a poster with their research, be present during the lectures, and to deliver a report with the solved exercises.


Course contents:
The course consists of twenty one lectures given by highly trained researcher and air quality managers in the field. Each lecture will be followed up by exercises. These exercises will be outlined in evening sessions on the first three days, but they are expected mainly to be carried after the course. In the morning lecture on day two to four, there will be given time for the students to ask questions and provide feedback on the previous day’s lectures and activities. In addition to the lectures and exercises, the students will present their research during two poster sessions. The best posters in selected poster theme categories will be awarded with poster prices and a specific diploma. After the course, the students will carry out brief reports with the solved exercises, and upon return of the reports, the students will receive course diplomas with a mark for the course exercises (unless the students request a diploma that only states participation in the course). By the end of the course all students will be asked to fill in an evaluation with their personal view on the single lectures of the course and the course as such.  The aim of this evaluation is to provide feedback to the lectures on how to improve future courses and lectures.

For more information please see the course program




Name of lecturers:

Professor Ole Hertel Environmental Science, AU

Professor Jørgen Brandt Environmental Science, AU

Professor Torben Sigsgaard Public Health, AU

Senior Scientist Kaj Mantzius Hansen Environmental Science, AU

Senior Scientist Steen Solvang Jensen Environmental Science, AU

Senior Scientist Andreas Massling Environmental Science, AU

Scientist Ulas Im Environmental Science, AU

Senior Scientist Philipp Schneider NILU, Norway

Senior Scientist Nuria Castell-Balaguer, NILU Norway


Type of course/teaching methods:
Lectures, poster session and solving exercises


Fenger, J. and Tjell, J.C. (Eds), 2009: Air pollution – form a global to a local perspective. 488 p.  Polyteknisk Forlag/RSC Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84755-865-7. (cost about 450DKK).

Hertel, O., Ellermann, T., Palmgren, F., Berkowicz, R., Løfstrøm, P., Frohn, L.M., Geels, C., Skjøth, C.A., Brandt, J., Christensen, J., Kemp, K., and Ketzel, M., 2007: Integrated Air Quality Monitoring – Combined use of measurements and models in monitoring programmes, Environmental Chemistry, 4(2), 65-74.

Hertel, O., and Goodsite, M.E., 2009. Urban Air Pollution Climates Throughout the World, 1-22, In: Hester, R.E. and Harrison, R. (Eds): Air Quality in Urban Environments, In the series Issues in Environmental Science and Technology, vol 28, pp 148, RSC Publishing.

Hertel, O., Skjøth, C.A., Reis, S., Bleeker, A., Harrison, R., Cape, J.N., Fowler, D., Skiba, U., Simpson, D., Jickells, T., Kulmala, M., Gyldenkærne, S., Sørensen, L.L., Erisman, J.W., and Sutton, M., 2012. Governing processes for reactive nitrogen compounds in the atmosphere. BGD, 9, 9349-9423,

Kakosimos, K., Hertel, O., Berkowicz, R., Ketzel, M., Jensen, S.S., and Hvidberg, M., 2010. The Operational Street Pollution Model (OSPM) – a review of performed validation studies. Environmental Chemistry, 7, 485-503.

Simpson, D., Benedictow, A., Berge, H., Bergström, R., Emberson, L. D., Fagerli, H., Hayman, G., Flechard, C., Gauss, M., Jonson, J. E., Jenkin, M. E., Nyiri, A., Richter, C., Semeena, V. S., Tsyro, S., Tuovinen J-P, Valdebenito, A., and Wind, P.,  The EMEP MSC-W chemical transport model -- technical description, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 3781-3874, 2012.

Tørseth, K., Aas, W., Breivik, K., Fjæraa, A. M., Fiebig, M., Hjellbrekke, A. G., Myhr, C. L., and Yttri, K. E.,  Introduction to the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP) and observed atmospheric composition change during 1972–2009, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 5447-5481, 2012

WIKI for Fortran at: A brief introduction to Fortran at: , and we recommend you to check one of the various web sites with course material for learning to programme in Fortran – one example is: where a full course may be downloaded.


Supplementary literature:
Ayres, J., Maynard, R., and Richards, R.: 2006: Air Pollution and Health, 248 p., ImperialCollege Press. ISBN 1-86094-191-5

Brimblecombe, P.: 1996: Air composition and Chemistry. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-45366-6

Jacobs, D.: Introduction to Chemistry of the atmospheres. P. 263, Princeton University Press,

Seinfeld, J.H. and Pandis, S.N.: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. From Air Pollution to Climate Change.1203 p.  John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN 978-0-471-72018-8.

Hertel, O., Reis, S., Skjøth, C.A., Bleeker, A., Harrison, R., Cape, J.N., Fowler, D., Skiba, U., Simpson, D., Jickells, T., Baker, A., Kulmala, M., Gyldenkærne, S., Sørensen, L.L., and Erisman, J.W., 2010. Chapter 9: Nitrogen turnover processes in the atmosphere, pp. 177-207, In: The European Nitrogen Assessment, Sources, Effects and Policy Perspectives (Eds. Mark A. Sutton, Clare M. Howard, Jan Willem Erisman, Gilles Billen, Albert Bleeker, Peringe Grennfelt, Hans van Grinsven, and Bruna Grizzetti). 612 p. Cambridge University Press,


Course homepage:

Course assessment:
The students need to prepare a poster on their research prior to the course and a report with solved exercises after the course in Emdrup.

Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University

Special comments on this course:
This course is organized within the framework of the EU COST Action TD1105 EuNetAir (

19-22 April 2016

Campus Emdrup, Aarhus University, Tuborgvej 164, 2400 København NV, Denmark

Please go to the course homepage for registration.

Deadline for registration is Thursday, 10 March 2016.

Comments on content: 
Revised 05.11.2018