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University of Gothenburg
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The atmosphere around the earth.
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Atmospheric Science

Atmospheric science investigates fundamental atmospheric chemistry and physics processes and how this affects ecosystems, air quality, health and climate. Our studies on a molecular level contribute to a better understanding of transport and reaction processes in the atmosphere.

Our studies of aerosols, atmospheric surfaces and cloud forming particles are important for understanding the evolution of the atmosphere and the Earth’s climate. Our research contributes to fundamental knowledge in scientific areas such as colloidal chemistry, nanotechnology, medicine and sustainable development.

Our researchers come from a wide range of backgrounds - chemistry, physics, geoscience and ecosystems - and have inter- and transdisciplinary collaborations within several external networks such as:

  • Gothenburg Air and Climate Network (GAC)
  • Gothenburg Center for Sustainability Development (GMV)
  • Private organizations and businesses, for instance RISE and AstraZeneca
  • Public organisations such as IVL Swedish environmental research institute and the City of Gothenburg.
Photo: Johan Wingborg

We perform our research in unique laboratories with advanced equipment such as molecular beam spectrometers and flow tube reactors, and we participate in measurement campaigns in order to characterize specific parts of the atmosphere. 

Research topics

Aerosol, cloud and climate interactions

Organic aerosol, particles, ice crystals and water droplets are all important for cloud formation; and their surfaces are fundamental to atmospheric chemistry and physics. Since clouds are essential for the development of the climate, it is important to strengthen the understanding of the clouds’ impact on chemical and physical processes in the atmosphere.

Air quality 

Our research endeavours to identify and fill the knowledge gaps regarding air quality and its impact on our quality of life. 

Energy and transport

To ensure a sustainable future, we need to understand how emissions from the energy and transport sectors, and their subsequent atmospheric transformation, affects the composition of the air, our health, ecosystem and climate. Our research focusses on the chemical and physical properties of fuels and emissions.

Photochemistry 

Photochemical smog affects the properties of aerosol particles. For example, transformation of soot can alter water uptake and cloud formation. To better understand the atmospheric chemistry within photochemical smog, we study complex oxidation mechanisms for organic compounds that contribute to the formation of secondary organic aerosols (SOA).

Research groups

Johan Boman, Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science

Research in the intersection of environmental science, physics and chemistry. Focus on air and life quality in urban areas in low and middle-income countries.

More information about Johan Boman

Photo: Johan Wingborg

Mattias Hallquist, Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry

Atmospheric particles and their properties from a molecular perspective, spanning from in lab experiments of aerosol formation based on oxidation of organic compounds to field measurements of urban aerosols.

More information about Mattias Hallquist

Photo: Anna-Lena Lundqvist

Ravi Kant Pathak, Senior Lecturer in Atmospheric Chemistry

Fundamental understanding of the interactions between soot and organic aerosols in the atmosphere, and the formation, transformation, properties and chemistry of resulting coatings on the soot particles. Investigating the molecular processes relevant for the regional brown haze including biomass burning. Further, investigating emission of neurotoxins from wood combustion.

More information about Ravi Kant Pathak

Jan Pettersson, Professor of Environmental Atmospheric Science

Fundamental laboratory-based and theoretical studies to improve our conceptual understanding of key aerosol processes, including formation of particles, formation of cloud droplets and ice particles, and the heterogeneous chemistry taking place on these particles. 

More information about Jan Pettersson

Erik Thomson, Senior Lecturer in Atmospheric Science

Fundamental chemical and physical processes related to atmospheric phase transitions including the formation and evolution of ice and snow.

More information about Erik Thomson

Photo: Malin Arnesson

Research for sustainable development

Atmospheric science research touches on many of the UN's global sustainability goals. Our research is important to understand many of the challenges that affect sustainable agriculture, our health, the use of fossil fuel-based energy, the development of urban environments, ecosystems and climate.

Some examples:

  • According to WHO, every nine death worldwide can be linked to air pollution.
  • Changing climate and precipitation patterns can alter agricultural productivity, the access to clean water, the sustainability of society and, in extreme cases, trigger mass migrations and conflicts.

A better understanding of the basic processes that create air pollution, change the formation and the properties of clouds, and processes that force chemical transformations are examples of areas where atmospheric science research can contribute to global solutions, now and in the future.