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Atmospheric Science

In atmospheric science, we investigate how fundamental atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics affects ecosystems, air quality, health and climate. Atmospheric Science at the University of Gothenburg is unique in Sweden because we take a molecular-level approach to transport and reaction processes in the atmosphere.

The study of aerosols, atmospheric surfaces and cloud forming particles are important components for understanding the evolution of the atmosphere, the Earth’s climate, and long-term sustainability. In addition to atmospheric research, our studies contribute fundamental knowledge and developments to a wide range of science, from colloidal chemistry and nanotechnology to medicine and sustainable development.

The importance of Atmospheric science research
Atmospheric science research is important to understand many of the challenges that concern sustainable agriculture, our health, the use of fossil fuel-based energy, the development of urban environments, ecosystems and climate. Atmospheric science research is also linked to many of the UN's global sustainability goals. Some examples:

  • According to the WHO, every ninth death globally is linked to air pollution.
  • Changing climate and precipitation patterns can alter agricultural productivity, the access to clean water, the sustainability of societies, and in the extreme trigger mass migrations and conflict.

Atmospheric science research can help to address these major challenges. Better understanding of the fundamental processes that create air pollution, change clouds and force atmospheric chemical transformations are examples of areas where atmospheric science research can contribute to global solutions, now and in the future.

Our researchers come from a wide range of backgrounds - chemistry, physics, geoscience and ecosystems - and we enthusiastically pursue a range of inter- and transdisciplinary research. We collaborate with several external networks such as:

  • Gothenburg Center for Sustainability Development (GMV)
  • Gothenburg Air and Climate Network (GAC)
  • Public organisations such as IVL Swedish environmental research institute and the City of Gothenburg
  • Private organizations and businesses such as RISE and AstraZeneca.

Research topics at the division of Atmospheric Science

Aerosol, cloud, climate interactions

Organic aerosol, particles, ice crystals and water droplets are all important for clouds; and their surfaces are fundamental to atmospheric chemistry and physics.

Air quality

Can we live in a world where we all have clean and fresh air? In atmospheric science, we improve the knowledge situation regarding air quality and its impact on everyone’s quality of life. Examples of solutions: SIF AIR report (link opens in new window).

Energy and transport

Research in energy and transport areas is vital to ensure a sustainable future. Understanding emissions from energy and transport sectors and their subsequent atmospheric transformation with chemical and physical properties, composition and impacts on health, ecosystem and climate is the key focus of our group.


In addition to unique laboratories (molecular beam, flow tube reactor, advanced spectrometers, et cetera) researchers within atmospheric science participate widely in measurement campaigns using a host of atmospheric characterization equipment.


Complex, mainly organic, chemistry controls atmospheric transformations. Atmospheric chemistry relates to the photochemical smog and involves the understanding of complex oxidation mechanisms of organic compounds linked to formation of secondary organic aerosols. It has impact on aerosol particle properties where, for example, transformation of soot could change water uptake and cloud formation.

Research groups within the division of Atmospheric Science

Johan BomanJohan Boman

Research in the intersection of environmental science, physics and chemistry, with special focus on air and life quality in urban areas in low and middle-income countries.

Mattias HallquistMattias Hallquist

Current research is on atmospheric particles and their properties from a molecular perspective, in lab experiments of aerosol formation from oxidation of organic compounds to field measurements of urban aerosols.

Ravi Kant Pathak

Working to improve fundamental understanding of the interactions between soot and organic aerosols in the atmosphere, and the formation, transformation, properties and chemistry of resulting coatings on the soot particles. Investigating the molecular processes relevant for the regional brown haze including biomass burning. Further, investigating emission of neurotoxins from wood combustion.

Jan PetterssonJan Pettersson

The fundamental laboratory-based and theoretical studies aim at an improved conceptual understanding of key aerosol processes, including formation of particles, formation of cloud droplets and ice particles, and heterogeneous chemistry taking place on these particles. 

Erik ThomsonErik Thomson

Fundamental chemical and physical processes related to atmospheric phase transitions including the formation and evolution of ice and snow.

Research for sustainable development

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals.Our research in Atmospheric Science contributes to sustainable development in many different ways. It mainly covers research on sources, effects and solutions related to air quality and climate.

Research related to sources can be linked to goal 7 (Energy), but also to industrial production, including goal 8 (Working Conditions), goal 9 (Industry and Infrastructure), goal 12 (Consumption), and urban and transport related issues (goal 11 Sustainable cities).

Research on effects include studies correlated to goal 3 (Health) and goal 13 (Climate) but it is also connected to effects on Poverty (goal 2), Water and sanitation (goal 6), Ecosystem (goal 15) and Water (goal 14).

Research needs for solutions to the complex fields of air quality and climate can be found in the other 6 sustainability goals, where much of the work involves capacity building in low and middle income countries.

Read more about Research and Sustainable Development

The Department's Principal Investigators

The Department's scientific publications

Page Manager: Katleen Burm|Last update: 11/27/2019

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