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The Air We Breathe 2.0

- the atmosphere, air quality and the climate

This Theme will pave the way for a new, coordinated and transdisciplinary research collaboration at Lund University that will ultimately be able to fulfil society's needs for knowledge and offer operational modelling tools necessary to manage the complex linked interactions and re-actions between climate change and air quality and everything that entails.

Focus is on the atmosphere. The climate, weather and the well-being of both humans and the ecosystem are all intimately linked to atmospheric composition and the quality of the air we breathe.

The most problematic components of the atmosphere can be categorised into short-lived air pollution that affects the climate – such as airborne particles and various reactive, trace gases – and enduring greenhouse gases, primarily cardon dioxide.While the cooling effect of airborne particles is welcome, they also have a serious unwanted impact on health, even in relatively clean countries like Sweden.

About the Theme

The task requires new networks between researchers from multiple university faculties. While this expertise is present at the university today, it is fragmented, and a team dedicated to “The air we breathe – the atmosphere, air quality and the climatehas not existed.

The Theme's researchers develop and utilise a broad range of atmospheric models, and together these models span all of the relevant scales in both time and space: milliseconds – decades, nanometres –global. We also have access to enormous volumes of data related to climate, air quality, and human health. All of this data can be utilised to develop and validate the models. Environmental data has truly become “big data”, and the data collection already exceeds hundreds of terabytes daily. Handling and analysing all of this heterogenous data is beyond the researchers' capacity, and very high-quality data remains unused as a result. We anticipate that incorporating artificial intelligence(AI) methods in our data analysis will offer great advantages. In many cases, the solution may be hybrid models that link physical processes with the flexibility that AI and machine learning offer.

Main objectives 

  • To coordinate and consolidate the different atmospheric models developed by our researchers and their international collaborators;
  • To identify how these models may be used to gain a deeper understanding of the balance between short-lived air pollution that affects the climate and enduring greenhouse gases, taking into account their cooling/warming effects and health impacts;
  • To explore the possibilities of using AI/ML to handle, quality-control and study various environmental- and health data related to the atmosphere and to combine data with models.
Smoke coming from factories. Photo.
Photo by Chris LeBoutillier on Unsplash

What is the air we breathe 2.0?

The air we breathe 2.0 is an independent follow-up to the previous Theme  Black Carbon that worked at the Institute in 2011-2012. Read more about the original Theme in the LU research portal.