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Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (ACES), Stockholm University, 2015

Postal address: Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (ACES), Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Visiting address: Svante Arrhenius väg 8 C (Frescati)
Web page: http://www.aces.su.se

Contact person: Professor Örjan Gustafsson, also Director, Maldives Climate Observatory at Hanimaadhoo (MCOH), phone:+ 46 (0)8 674 7317

On 1 January 2015, ACES was formed by amalgamating the former Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM), Department of Analytical Chemistry, and the Division of Environmental Chemistry (formely part of the Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry), to form ACES. With over 220 employees, Stockholm University has created a novel research environment that links modern tools of chemistry to the science of atmospheric aerosols, biogeochemical cycles and chemical contaminants. 

ITM has always been multidisciplinary in its research and teaching, with a focus on society’s impact on natural systems and processes. The research and teaching encompass the transport, fate and biological effects of environmental pollutants and trace substances, including the development and use of chemical, biological and physical methods as well as numerical models. ITM has also provided external expert support to Swedish environmental authorities.

The department is also part of the Bolin Centre for Climate Research at Stockholm University. More information.

South Asia related research

Prof. Örjan Gustafsson is heading the Environmental process research group. The research in the group strives to increase the understanding of molecular- to global-scale processes affecting the dispersal and exposure of organic pollutants as well as the functioning of biogeochemical element cycles. He has also been involved in the ”Atmospheric Brown Cloud (ABC)” programme, dealing with the problem of air pollution in the Indo-Asia Pacific Region, and its impact on climate and the environment.

In collaboration with Prof. Henning Rodhe at the Dept. of Meteorology, Stockholm University and several other European, American and Asian researchers, he published an article in Science Magazine volume 323, January 2009. The article was titled ”Brown Clouds over South Asia: Biomass or Fossil Fuel Combustion?”. It dealt with the haze and smog that is prevalent in urban areas of India under specific humidity conditions associated with winter monsoon period during which there is no rain to wash pollutants from the air. The brown clouds are created by a range of airborne particles and pollutants from combustion (e.g. woodfires, cars, and factories), biomass burning and industrial processes with incomplete burning. The scientists have now proved that most of it is actually caused by wodfire and biomass burning, and less can be attributed to fossil burning. More information on the Science article (in Swedish)
The article was based on an extensive report entitled ”Atmospheric Brown Clouds: Regional Assessment Report with Focus on Asia” that was presented in 2008 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Regional Resource Center for Asia and the Pacific. The lead authors behind the report included Veerabhadran Ramanathan, University of California San Diego, USA; Henning Rodhe, Stockholm University, Sweden; Madhoolika Agrawal, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi, India; Usha Kiran Chopra and A.K. Singh from the Indian Agriculture Research Institute, India; Lisa Emberson, Stockholm Environment Institute, UK; Syed Iqbal Hasnain, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India; Mylvakanam Iyngararasan, United Nations Environment Programme; and Achuthan Jayaraman, National Atmospheric Research Laboratory, India. More information about the report.

On 30 October 2014, Prof. Gustafsson was granted SEK 700 000 as a Swedish Research Links (SRL) grant from the Swedish Research Council for a three-year Bangladesh related project (2015-17) entitled ”Development of Sweden-Bangladesh Collaboration towards Source Determination of Black Carbon Aerosols in Bangladesh: Prioritized Short-Lived Climate Pollutants”, in collaboration with Prof. Abdus Salam, University of Dhaka.
Abstract:  Black carbon (BC) containing aerosols filling the atmosphere of South Asia cause severe effects on both climate and the quality of the air people breathe, yet the relative source contributions from e.g. biomass vs fossil fuel combustion are poorly constrained. This knowledge gap hampers both our ability to (a) properly understand the role of BC and its varying sources in climate and air quality systems, (b) provide guidance to efforts of society to decrease the emissions. The long-term objective of our budding collaboration is to quantify key combustion sources of BC in Bangladesh – one of the most polluted regions on Earth and the ”exhaust pipe” of South Asia.
This SRL project seeks to develop a long-lasting collaboration between strong aerosol scientists in Bangladesh and Sweden. With our ultimate goal to deliver solid science on the sources of BC aerosols in the S Asian atmosphere, the LINKS activities will include a set of workshops to refine how we best combine our complimentary skills and infrastructures; reconnaissance of putative sites to establish a top-notch atmospheric observatory in S Bangladesh; study visit to a leading S Asian Superobservatory, execute a joint short pilot study to deliver the first 14C-based source apportionment of BC aerosols in the region. A key deliverable is to formulate joint proposals for the major collaborative research program needed to pin down the sources of BC aerosols in the S Asian outflow.
More information about the South Asia related SRL grants 2014

On 3 November 2015, the Swedish Research Council decided upon Development Research grants, the ones previously distributed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Professor Örjan Gustafsson was granted a total amount of SEK 3.6 m for a four year-period (2016-19) project entitled ”Source Determination of Black Carbon (Soot) Aerosols in Bangladesh: Prioritized Short-lived Air Pollutions”. The main collaboration parter on the Bangladeshi side is Professor Abdus  Salam (photo), Department of Chemistry, Dhaka University

Project Abstract: Aerosol pollution containing Black Carbon (BC; soot) fills the atmosphere of S Asia. This Atmospheric Brown Cloud (ABC), with BC as a key component, cause severe effects on both the regional climate and the quality of the air people breathe, yet the relative source contributions from e.g. biomass vs fossil fuel combustion are poorly constrained. Atmospheric BC from biomass vs fossil fuel combustion have different intrinsic impacts on climate and health ; fossil-BC have stronger mass-normalized solar absorption efficiency and is smaller in size, thus able to penetrate further into the lungs. Hence, it is imperative to reduce uncertainties regarding BC sources and emissions. Unfortunately, bottom-up technology-based emission inventories (EI) – the common input for models of climate and air quality and a policy tool for mitigation decisions – has uncertainties in BC sources and emissions, with predictions range by factors 3-5. This project will further develop and apply microscale 14C-dating of BC aerosols to provide powerful observation-based top-down information on the relative contribution from combustion of fossil fuel (extinct 14C) and biomass (contemporary 14C) to the BC in the actual atmosphere.
An initial month-long studies have demonstrated systematic underestimation in the fractional fossil contribution of all 8 BC-EI for India (Gustafsson et al., 2009 Science) and in all 12 BC-EI for China (Chen et al., incl Gustafsson, 2013). In collaboration with aerosol researchers in Bangladesh, one of the most polluted regions on Earth and the “exhaust pipe” of S Asia, we propose the first year-round 14C-BC source forensics assessment for S Asia.
Building on recent Swe-Bangla pilot study, the research group proposes 24-mo BC source apportionment campaigns in both highly-polluted megacity Dhaka and in rural southern Bangladesh at the newly established Bhola Observatory (now part of the international UNEP-ABC program set of receptor observatories). This site provides an opportunity to source fingerprint the load of BC that have accumulated through the Pakistan – N India – Bangladesh air transport; it thus provides an integrated perspective of sources to the BC influencing the larger-scale regional climate.
The three objectives and approaches are:
(1) 14C-based quantification of the relative contribution of biomass vs fossil fuel combustion to BC in megacity Dhaka and regional receptor site Bhola. Benefit: Pinning down the sources of BC aerosols in S Asia allows us to better understand its effects on climate, respiratory health and to guide policy options toward mitigation.
(2) Assimilate a battery of diagnostic source markers (Δ14C, δ13C and pyrogenic molecules) to refine apportionment of multiple sources. Benefit: Statistical modeling of the generated source-diagnostic database with Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) simulations will yield an improved description of BC sources to the polluted air over Bangladesh between fossil-liquid, fossil-coal, biomass-woodfuel, biomass – crop residue burning.
(3) Compare this top-down source apportionment of atmospheric BC with predictions from bottom-up BC emission inventories (EI) using a coupled EI-transport model (Eclipse-Flexpart). Benefit:  Responding to a general plea of independent observation-based tests of BC-EI predictions, the composition-based source apportionment will contribute to diagnose the reliability of present EI and diagnose areas for improvement, to the benefit of climate and air quality models.
The quantitative information on contributions from fossil vs biomass combustion sources, generated in close collaboration with a strong Bangladeshi aerosol group, will beyond high-impact research articles also be used to advise the Env Ministry of Bangladesh (and briefed to UNEP and Env Ministry of Sweden) to guide policy options toward BC mitigation.

Earlier research projects

Professor Gustafsson coordinated a research project entitled ”Source Apportionment of Black Carbon Aerosols from India and China”, that was given SEK 3.5 m as a project grant by Formas – The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning in late 2009. The project ran during the period 2010–2012. He was also given SEK 1.35 m as a research grant from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, for an India related project entitled ”Source Apportionment of Indian Aerosol Soot Black Carbon in view of its Role in Climate Change and Respiratory Health”. 

In October 2011, Sida’s (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) U-landsforskningsråd decided to award Prof. Gustafsson with SEK 1.8 m for a three-year (2012-14) research grant for a new project focusing on the Maldives, entitled ”Source Determinations of Climate- and Health-Affecting Air Particulate Matter emitted from the South Asian region”. It has been carried out in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Operator of the UNEP-Maldives Climate Observatory. 
Abstact: Black carbon (BC) containing aerosols shading South Asia in the winter causes severe effects on both climate and the air people breathe, yet the combustions source are poorly constrained, which hampers society to decrease emissions. The key objectives are to quantify key combustion sources and to resolve the climate effect of aerosols of different sizes and sources. The source apportionment of BC aerosols in Asia is identified by Swedish government’s new Strategy for Short-Lived Climate Forces as a key national priority of relevance for global sustainable development.  Aerosols from 16mo field campaigns at the key remote Climate Observatory for South Asia will be probed by microscale 14 C dating. Quantitative information on fossil vs. biomass combustion will be used to advise EPAs and UNEP to guide policy options towards BC mitigation.

Partner driven Swedish-Asian collaboration project on ”Brown Air” in northern India 

In July 2010, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), through its program for Partner Driven Cooperation (Aktörssamverkan), announced a call for applications for grants to collaborative projects related to access to and use of research for the period 2010 – 2012. This program is not support to research but rather assisting partners in assessing and using research in policy formulation and innovation. Sida’s initiative for Partner Driven Cooperation is aiming to support sustainable cooperation relationships, and concerns only a few selected countries, namely China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.
In December 2010, decisions were made. A total number of 32 projects were selected, out of which nine refers to Indo-Swedish collaboration projects. Information about all India related projects given grants.
Professor Örjan Gustafsson was the main applicant for one of these India related grants. He and his colleagues behind the application are given SEK 4.2 m for three years (2010-12) for a project entitled ”Climate and health-afflicting “Brown Air” in northern India: evaluation of sources, advise on mitigation options and advocacy for action”. 
Abstract: The Brown Air, resulting from inefficient combustion by traffic, woodfuel burning etc, blankets northern India in the winter and causes severe effects on both the regional climate and the air people breathe. The overarching aim is to contribute towards the reduction in emissions of key Brown Air components. This progress may be achieved by (i) producing scientifically robust and today missing information on the sources of the combustion particles in New Delhi air (ii) follow through with socio-economic evaluation of potential mitigation options, leading to (iii) advocacy and advice on policy strategies to reduce the brownish haze of N Indian air. The powerful quantitative information put forth by the unorthodox Indo-Swedish team of leading atmospheric scientists and experienced policy experts will leverage recent massive Indian initiatives to reduce air pollution.
The co-applicants on the Swedish side were Dr. August Andersson, also at ITM, and two colleagues at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Research Associate Fiona Lambe and Senior Research Fellow Francis X Johnson.
The collaboration partners on the Indian side were Dr. Tiwari Suresh, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Delhi, and Prof. Rajena Prasad, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi .

Joint Bangladesh–Sweden Policy Seminar on Air Quality and Climate

Ministers from Bangladesh and Sweden and high level representatives, scientists, governmental and non-governmental organizations from 15 countries, both within the region of South Asia and internationally, and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) met in Dhaka on 17–18 September 2011 to participate in the Joint Bangladesh–Sweden Policy Seminar for the South Asian Region on Near-term Air Quality and Climate Benefit – Promoting International Co-operation and Facilitating Action. Örjan Gustafsson participated in the Dhaka seminar.

The seminar was hosted jointly by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Bangladesh and the Ministry of Environment, Sweden (with the Minister Lena Ek participating) and co-organized by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). The overall aim of the seminar was to share experience and practice to promote strategic action nationally, regionally and globally on short-lived climate forcers (SLCF). Several specific sources of SLCFs and ways to mitigate them were discussed at the seminar. For black carbon these included brick kilns, cook stoves, open biomass burning, and transportation which currently are responsible for a large fraction of the emissions in South Asia. Important sources for methane include: livestock, rice cultivation, coal mining, biomass burning, gas production, solid and waste water treatment. See the programme for the Dhaka seminarRead a full report from the seminar.