Introducing: Prof. dr. Guus Velders

Professor by special appointment

Guus Velders

In April I started at IMAU as professor by special appointment on the topic of ‘Air quality and climate interactions’. With this appointment I want to create a link between the fundamental research at IMAU and the societal and policy applications at RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment). My main interest is air quality in times of climate change and its effects on our health and environment. My research will focus on the following areas:

Air quality – climate interactions: policy perspective. Research on this topic uses models to quantify how changes in temperature, wind and precipitation climate will affect concentrations of ozone, NO2 and aerosols, and how that in turn influences air quality and climate policies. The effects can be direct, through changes in chemical and physical processes, but also indirect by influencing anthropogenic and biogenic emissions. Coupled chemistry-climate models at different spatial scales are our tools of choice to study the impact of climate change on local and regional air quality. For instance, how do extremely warm summers with their detrimental effects on air quality and health influence climate policy?

HFC scenarios and climate effects. In 2016 a global accord was reached to reduce to use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in (refrigerating) equipment, because they are potent greenhouse gases. This research will focus on future scenarios of HFCs emissions and alternative substances, and how this impacts climate and air quality. These impacts also depend on the energy used by the equipment itself, making it important to include energy efficiency in our considerations.

Using satellite data for air pollutant emissions and air quality monitoring. The quality of satellite observations of NO2 and aerosols has improved significantly in the past decade. We expect that the spatial resolution of instruments that will be launched in the comings years will provide data that can be used for air quality monitoring. Research in this area will focus on the use of satellite and ground based data, atmospheric transport models and data assimilation techniques to monitor ground level air quality and the effects of policy options. The data can also be used for tracing emissions of air pollutants and some climate gases. Here also, the focus will be on applying the available information to policy studies.

I am very much looking forward to collaborating with my new IMAU colleagues and using each other’s expertise to advance science and make products that are relevant for society.

Guus Velders