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Aerosols: Risk Amplified by Climate Change?

Freie Universität Berlin and Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research Set Up Joint Visiting Professorship in Environmental Research

№ 088/2016 from Mar 31, 2016

Freie Universität Berlin and the prestigious Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (Dutch: Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek, TNO) are increasing their long-standing cooperation. They signed an agreement establishing a visiting professorship at Freie Universität Berlin to explore the interactions between aerosols, climate, and air quality. The first chair holder will be Professor Martijn Schaap from TNO. Schaap aims to achieve close cooperation, especially with professors at the institutes of Meteorology and Space Sciences whose expertise complements his field of research. After the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, TNO is the second-largest research organization in Europe. Its purpose is to enable business and government to apply knowledge gained through basic research.

Atmospheric pollutants such as aerosols, ozone, and reactive nitrogen present a problem for humanity, especially in metropolitan areas. Moreover, they have a negative impact on ecosystems and biodiversity. To determine what proportion is produced locally and how the total concentration can be most sustainably reduced requires an assessment of emission distributions, meteorological-related transport, chemical conversion processes, and so-called sinks. There is still great uncertainty in understanding and modeling these processes: in particular there is urgent need for research with regard to the issue of how climate change and the reduction of emissions resulting from the energy turnaround affect the frequency of peak loads and how nitrogenous aerosols contribute to climate change. The Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment hopes to benefit from the research activities, when it updates its policy measures to reduce pollution in the city in 2017.

The chair holder of the visiting professorship, Dr. Martijn Schaap, was born on July 24, 1977. He studied Environmental Sciences at the University of Utrecht, where he also earned his doctorate in the field of aerosols and climate. He has been doing research at TNO since 2004. His main fields of research are aerosols, climate, and air quality.

TNO and Freie Universität have been cooperating in research and teaching since 1996. As part of their collaboration, various research projects that were funded by the German Federal Environment Agency were conducted at Freie Universität Berlin. Approximately ten bachelor's theses, thirty master's theses, and six doctoral dissertations have been completed within the partnership, which is annually funded with roughly 100,000 euros.

Further Information

Prof. Dr. Uwe Ulbrich, Vice Dean, Department of Earth Sciences, Institute of Meteorology, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-71186, Email: