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Particles in the urban atmosphere: behaviour of fine and ultrafine particles, their spatial variation, and relationships with local policy action


The central objective of this European Reintegration project PURAT is to establish Dr Wolfram Birmil - in his home region - as a researcher with scientific independence and leadership functions. Over the next 2 years Dr Birmili intends to continue and exp and, at the Leibniz Institute for Tropospherk Research (IfT) in Leipzig, lines of research he developed between 2001 and 2003 with his EU Marie Curie host, the University of Birmingham. The research project is concerned with an experimental and theoreti cal exploration of the behaviour of fine and ultrafine atmospheric particles, such as those generated in large number by motorised traffic, in a complex urban atmosphere. The methods to exactly describe or assess the source behaviour, atmospheric behavio ur, and the health implications of these particles are currently not sufficient to warrant accurate monitoring or forecasting the exposure of entire populations to fine and ultrafine particles, left alone the development of efficient political tools to reduce the exposure risk. At his new host, Dr Birmili finds an experienced team of researchers, and also the extensive infrastructure necessary to address the properties and behaviour of fine and ultrafine particles, particularly their variation in time and space, and their physico-chemical properties and chemical composition. As a significant new training aspect, Dr Birmili will work with team members from IfT and the University of Birmingham on the validation of a numerical transport and transformati on models, based on the extensive experimental data sets collected during the early stages of this project. In a continuous dialogue with local air quality managers and officials, Dr Birmili will also scrutinize the potential implications of fine and ult rafine particle research on a local-scale environmental and health protection, as well as on future developments of EU air quality guidelines.

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