We offer two qualifications in this area:
- MSc in Air Pollution Management and Control
- Postgraduate Diploma in Air Pollution Management and Control
The full-time MSc course runs over a 12-month period, starting in October. The taught modules are delivered in the Autumn and Spring terms, while the summer months focus on the major research project. Teaching is scheduled in a block or day release format (i.e. lectures concentrated on one or two days per week) to facilitate part-time study alongside employment. The full-time Postgraduate Diploma (taught modules only) lasts nine months, from October through to June of the following year.
Both courses are also available on a part-time basis, running over two years.
The course has nine taught modules, representing 120 credits in total :
Causes and Effects of Air Pollution
The sources, behaviour and fates of air pollutants, and their impact on human health, the built environment, ecosystems and global climate are described in this module. The module also addresses the use of emission inventories, methods and procedures for air pollutant measurement, and integration of these to give effective monitoring networks. Current and future developments in road vehicle technologies are covered, and the process of defining emission standards is studied.
- Atmospheric Composition and Physics
This course provides an introduction to the structure of the atmosphere and its evolution through time, the atmospheric transfer of heat and sunlight, cloud microphysics and radiative processes of the atmosphere, and their importance in air pollution phenomena.
- Air Pollution Meteorology
This course explains how the temperature structure and motion of the atmosphere determines the dispersion of air pollutants. Air pollution modelling techniques are also introduced.
- Air Pollution Chemistry
The basic principles that determine the composition of the atmosphere are introduced and the processes leading to the formation and removal of atmospheric pollutants are described. There is a focus on the chemistry of air pollution phenomena such as urban air pollution (including photochemical smog and ozone formation), acid rain and stratospheric ozone depletion, in the context of changing climate.
- Industrial Gas Discharge Control
These modules introduce the basic principles and design criteria for the engineering control of industrial gaseous emissions, from sources ranging from power plants to individual vehicles. Removal technologies of both particulate and gaseous contaminants are included. IGDC 0 introduces the fundamental principles needed in assessing industrial processes (energy requirements and material flow), IGDC I focuses on the emission control of gaseous pollutants while IGDC II focuses on the emissions control of airborne particulate matter.
- Air Quality Management
Students study the policy and institutional framework for the management of air quality. Aspects covered in this module include the use of source emission and ambient air quality standards, air quality management models, monitoring for compliance and the role of air pollutant emission reduction strategies. This is taught in the context of the UK National Air Quality Strategy.
- Physical Climatology & The Climate System
An understanding of the variability of the climate system and its inherent changes with time is key to addressing questions of either natural or anthropogenic (human driven) climate change. This module will help students to become familiar with the underlying physical concepts as well as their application to attribute and detect anthropogenic climate change. The module will cover the basic physical climate system, basics of the observed atmospheric and ocean general circulation and their known modes of large scale variability. The module will them examine our knowledge of past climates and natural variability, the principles behind current anthropogenic climate change and the strengths (and limitations) of current climate models and climate predictions. The course concludes with a review of potential impacts of climate change, and the related political and social responses, including climate sceptic arguments.
- Carbon Management
Carbon Management is an increasingly important consideration for individual organisations through to national governments, with recognition that responsible management and sustainable development require minimising carbon emissions where feasible. This module provides an introduction to all aspects of carbon management. Topics covered include the overall scientific context of the global carbon cycle, global policy aspects (Kyoto, Copenhagen and current UK / EU targets), carbon offsetting and emissions trading, the impact of changing energy sources (biofuels and renewable energy resources, including impacts on air quality) and local carbon management, with a focus on the techniques used by local authorities and individual organisations. The module concludes with a realistic review of the likely near-future global emissions trajectory, considering economic trends in the BRIC nations, and the scope for renewable energy on a national level.
The research component of the course comprises a Research Methods module (10 credits) and an individual research project into an area of the students’ choice (50 credits).
The Research Project allows you to explore an area of air pollution of your choosing to develop an in-depth understanding. Projects may involve laboratory experiments, field measurements of atmospheric composition, computer-based modelling studies or analysis of existing atmospheric data. You will have access to the School’s research and laboratory facilities and atmospheric measurement instrumentation, and also frequently draw upon external links and data sources (for example, through local authority air quality monitoring).
You are able to select your own research project topic, and will be supervised on a one-to-one basis by a member of staff with relevant expertise and/or research interests. Projects usually involve a design and planning phase (Jan – March) followed by the main research phase during spring / summer. The project is assessed through a written dissertation and an informal viva (oral examination).
Examples of recent projects include:
- A preliminary investigation into how the introduction of the London low emission zone has affected PM10 levels as measured along the Marylebone Road
- Assessment of ozone levels and meteorological effects in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia
- Characterisation of vehicle exhaust emissions using remote sensing technology
- An ADMS-based investigation into particulate dispersal in the vicinity of the Scunthorpe steelworks
- Changes to levels of particulate air pollution in hospitality premises across Birmingham following the introduction of the smoke-free England legislation
- An analysis of the May 2008 ozone pollution episode in the West Midlands
- An investigation of airborne ammonia concentrations at two contrasting locations in the West Midlands conurbation
- The atmospheric role of methyl iodide in the continental boundary layer
- The chemistry of HOx radicals and HONO within a street canyon – A modelling study
- Evaluation of ADMS-roads in rural street canyons
- Spatial and temporal variation of ozone in Hong Kong and its effect on the surrounding human population
- Is air quality measured to best effect in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham?
- The effect of ambient particulate matter levels in the UK on visibility