Course Summary

Airborne particulate matter (PM) or atmospheric aerosol is not a single pollutant, but rather is a mixture of many subclasses of pollutants with each subclass containing may different chemical species. They are becoming of increasing interest in air quality. Recent epidemiological studies have found statistical associations between concentrations of ambient PM and mortality, morbidity, exacerbation of preexisting illness and physiologic changes. Aerosols come in a wide range of sizes, they originates form both anthropogenic (stationary, area, and mobile sources) and natural sources. They may be emitted directly by a source or formed in the atmosphere by the transformation of gaseous emission (i.e. gas-to-particle conversion). Their chemical and physical compositions vary depending on location, season, and meteorology. Aerosols play a role in a great number of environmental issues also. It affects human health, visibility, climate, and ecosystems. This course will provide the student with a background in the fundamentals of atmospheric aerosols. Both primary and secondary sources of aerosols will be discussed together with their transport and fate in the atmosphere. The importance of aerosols in present day urban, rural, and remote air quality together with ways to analyze atmospheric aerosol data will be addressed.

Course Syllabus

  • Introduction and Fundamentals of Aerosols: Nature and sources of particulate matter (PM), new PM standards, and PM compositions
  • Importance of Aerosols in Air Quality: Health and Welfare effects (Visibility, Climate change, Materials damage)
  • Physics of Atmospheric Particles: Size characterization, Physical configuration, Bulk material and surface properties
  • Processes Affecting Particle Size: Atmospheric particles increase in size by coagulation and growth; where growth can occur by condensation, vapor deposition, dissolution, and/or chemical reactions
  • Aerosol Particle Morphology and Shape: The morphologies (structures) and shapes of aerosol particles vary with composition and age
  • Chemistry of Atmospheric Particles: Chemical characterization, and Gas-to-particle conversion
  • Sources of Atmospheric Aerosols: Estimates for global production rates of particulate matter from natural and anthropogenic sources
  • Removal Processes Associated with Aerosols: Aerosols are removed from the atmosphere by dry and wet deposition processes
  • Atmospheric Transport and Fate of Airborne Particles: Transport mechanisms, influence of transport on source regions, atmospheric residence time and spatial scales
  • Rationing as a tool to evaluate sources and data qualityAir pollutant emissions and exposures: Data analysis and data quality development
  • Ambient Particulate Matter Concentrations, Patterns, and Trends: Chemical and size composition of particulate matter in urban, rural, remote, and marine environments