Atmospheric aerosol and Air Quality

The atmospheric particulate matter and/or aerosol impacts on health and climate: the effects are important but not completely known. In urban and rural/remote areas huge amounts of data are required to describe the chemical composition, the size distribution and the concentration time trends of this elusive pollutant. 

Our Laboratory has been continuously developing measuring and data reduction techniques to characterize the particulate matter in the urban environment (usually referred as PM10 and PM2.5), to single out long range transport events, to quantify the contribution of the species most interacting with solar radiation,  to apportion the impact of specific “sources” (traffic, energy production, industries, natural processes) on the pollution levels. Since the year 2003, in the frame of a grant of the Province of Genoa, our Laboratory has been characterizing the sources of particulate matter in the metropolitan area of the city of Genoa.

Our expertise goes from the size-segregated sampling, to the analysis of the particulate matter with gravimetric, optical, atomic and nuclear techniques and finally to data reduction through receptor models and other statistical approaches. The same methodologies are also useful and are actually adopted in other environmental studies as well as in materials and cultural heritage characterization.

Finally, we have built the first Italian atmospheric simulation chamber: ChAMBRe