scientists with air quality monitoring equipment, climate simulation, traffic

Environmental Impacts

What are the environmental impacts of energy-related emissions on the atmosphere? What influences the flow of pollutants? What is the energy and materials use of a product throughout its lifecycle?

The study of environmental impacts of human activities brings together scientists interested in atmospheric processes, climate change studies, life-cycle analysis of technologies, and public health. Research in this area includes impacts of air pollution, especially atmospheric aerosols, atmospheric chemistry, climate change, the fate and transport of pollutants, and the energy and resource use of products and technologies over their life cycles.

This research quantifies anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission at facility, local, and regional scales for policy relevant evaluation of emission inventories and mitigation activities. Combining tower, mobile-ground and airborne measurements, and satellite remote sensing, with high-resolution bottom-up emission maps and atmospheric transport models, with Bayesian inference models to quantify emissions on space and time scales from km to state totals and hours to years.

This research addresses the size, composition and sources of particles in the atmosphere, effective control strategies, and the role of particles in air quality and climate.

Global climate change research is aimed at understanding the factors, and the feedbacks among these factors, driving global climate change. Climate change will have major effects on the world's environment, the economy and human health.

Utilizing individual vehicle emissions test results and measurements, we analyze how the combination of vehicle technology, land-use patterns and driving behavior affect the urban air pollutant emissions in the transportation sector.

Research in this area is concerned with regional air quality issues such as:

  • Controlling nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds, to manage tropospheric ozone pollution.
  • Hazardous air pollutants: using science to base standards on rigorously studied risks.
  • Air quality and climate: how does climate influence air quality at a regional or local level?