The role of anthropogenic activities in emissions of greenhouse gases is well known. The buildup of over one billion tons of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere in conjunction with business as usual emissions during the next few decades have set the planet on a course for a 2.5C warming by mid-21st century and as much as 4C by end of the 21st century. By sheer coincidence, human activities have also simultaneously polluted the air with emissions of aerosols, which have offset about 40% of the committed warming by reflecting the incoming solar radiation. The best analogue is, if we can think of the greenhouse gases as a blanket covering the planet (keeping it warm by trapping the infrared energy), aerosols have acted like mirrors and reflected sunlight and cooled the planet. This is at best a Faustian bargain since these particles have also led to global dimming at the surface thus altering in a fundamental way the hydrological cycle of the planet. One simulated impact of the dimming is to cause droughts and disruption of the major precipitation systems in the tropics, particularly affecting the poorest three billion. Another double jeopardy is that, not all particles have a cooling effect. Some like black and brown carbon are efficient absorbers of solar radiation and when they are deposited on snow and ice lead to accelerated melting of arctic sea ice and glaciers in the Alps and the Himalayas. The fundamental policy mistake that is being made is to assume that aerosols are minor players in climate change or even if they are taken seriously to adopt the view that they are lessening the impacts of global warming through their cooling effect. One evidence of this flawed thinking is the geo-engineering proposal of releasing sulfate particles in the stratosphere. They do indeed can cause cooling but they are equally likely to reduce global precipitation affecting the water security which in many parts of the planet is a more serious problem than temperature change. The effect of aerosols on the water security of the planet deserves serious consideration at the UN Paris summit of 2015 and we need to drastically reduce their emissions. Unlike the case of reducing CO2 emissions, cost-effective and proven technologies are readily available to cut most manmade aerosols.
Dr. Ramanathan discovered the greenhouse effect of Choloro-fluoro-carbons in 1975. He predicted in 1980 that global warming would be detected by 2000. He led the Indian-Ocean-experiment that discovered the widespread Atmospheric Brown Clouds and the large warming effect of black carbon. Recently he showed that mitigation of short lived climate pollutants will slow down global warming significantly during this century. He has won numerous awards. He was honored as the 2013 Champion of Earth for Science and Innovation by the United Nations and named as the 2014 Global Thinker by the US Foreign Policy. He is a member of the National Academy of Science, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences among others. He is now serving in Pope Francis' Council for the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Since the passage of 1970 Clean Air Act Amendments and the imposition of the first National Ambient Air Quality Standards in 1972, there have been substantial improvements in ambient air quality leading to improved public health and diminished environmental impacts. The setting of such standards is done with a combination of science, science policy, and politics with a variety of competing interests vying to manipulate the process to the extent possible. This talk will be presented from the viewpoint of someone who has interacted in the process for more than 30 years in multiple roles including as a member and then chair of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and present some of the good, bad and ugly parts of the regulatory process.
Dr. Philip K. Hopke is the Bayard D. Clarkson Distinguished Professor at Clarkson University, the Director of the Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science (CARES), and the Director of the Institute for a Sustainable Environment (ISE). Dr. Hopke is the past Chair of EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), and has served on the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB). Professor Hopke is a Past President of the American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR), and was a member of the more than a dozen National Research Council committees. He is a member of the NRC's Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology. He is a fellow of the International Aerosol Research Assembly, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Association for Aerosol Research. He is an elected member of the International Statistics Institute and was the recipient of the Eastern Analytical Symposium Award in Chemometrics and the Chemometrics in Analytical Chemistry Conference Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also a recipient of the David Sinclair Award of the AAAR. He served as a Jefferson Science Fellow at the U.S. Department of State during the 2008-09 academic year. Professor Hopke received his B.S. in Chemistry from Trinity College (Hartford) and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from Princeton University.
Nanotechnology is touted as the basis for the next industrial revolution, yet the health and environmental impacts of engineered nanomaterials are not fully known. The history of asbestos and combustion-generated ultrafine particles suggests that we should be concerned about exposure to novel nanoscale particles. To gain insight into the emissions, transformation, transport, and fate of engineered nanomaterials in the atmosphere, we can apply knowledge and tools from aerosol science and engineering. The exchange is two-way, as methods used in nanoscience research can provide detailed characterization of airborne particles. Engineered nanomaterials can be released into the atmosphere at every step in the product life cycle: production at a commercial manufacturing facility, use by consumers in the home, and disposal via incineration. Although we may envision a puff of pure, monodisperse, separated particles, engineered nanomaterials released into air are typically aggregated with other particulate matter, such ingredients in the parent product or soot, and the size of such aggregates may range from smaller than 10 nanometers to larger than 10 micrometers. Like many aerosols, engineered nanomaterials are subject to chemical transformations in the atmosphere that may modify the nanomaterials' environmental fate and toxicity. From the opposite perspective, engineered nanomaterials can be used as model aerosols in laboratory studies or as components of environmental sensors to inform aerosol science. Further research is needed to determine whether airborne engineered nanomaterials present a novel hazard.
Linsey Marr is a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. Her research group studies the emissions, transformation, transport, and fate of air pollutants. She is especially interested in emerging or non-traditional aerosols such as engineered nanomaterials and viral pathogens. She holds a BS in Engineering Science from Harvard College and a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. She completed postdoctoral training in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has received an NSF CAREER award and an NIH New Innovator award in recognition of outstanding research by young investigators. She attended her first AAAR conference in 1997 and currently serves as the Treasurer of AAAR and a member of the editorial advisory board of Aerosol Science and Technology.
Remarkable progress has been made in the science of particulate matter (PM) health effects and their mechanisms. Many of the scientific questions about PM health effects posed in a report of the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 have been or are being addressed. We know that PM exposure at levels experienced outdoors in urban environments has effects on the blood and the heart and increases risk for pulmonary and cardiovascular events in susceptible people. These findings have revolutionized our understanding of interactions between the lungs and the heart, and of the ability of inhaled particles to deposit in the respiratory system and gain access to the circulation and even the brain. This presentation will focus on our current understanding of mechanism of PM toxicity such as systemic inflammation, vascular function and dysfunction, and cardiac events and look into our crystal ball for the future as we consider susceptibility genes and the potential to use the tools of molecular epidemiology to examine susceptibility at the population level.
MARK J. UTELL is professor of medicine and environmental medicine, director of occupational and environmental medicine, and former director of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY. His research interests have centered on the effects of environmental and occupational toxicants on the human respiratory tract. Dr. Utell is principal investigator on a Henry M. Jackson Foundation Grant for the Advancement of Military Medicine (U.S. Department of Defense) to identify "serum indicators of occupational and environmental PAH exposures in burn pit workers". He was co-principal investigator of a U.S. EPA Particulate Matter Center. He is the former chair of the Health Effects Institute's Research Committee and has served as chair of EPA's Environmental Health Committee. He serves as Chair of the external science advisory committees to the Harvard School of Public Health's EPA Particulate Matter Center; Columbia University's NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Center; and the University of North Carolina's Center for Environmental Medicine, Allergy & Lung Biology. He previously served on the NRC Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology and as chair of the NRC Committee to Review the NIOSH Respiratory Disease Research Program and the Committee to Review the Department of Defense Enhanced Particulate Matter Surveillance Program Report. He is a former recipient of an NIEHS Academic Award in Environmental and Occupational Medicine, an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the recipient of the 2013 Mercer Award of the International Society for Aerosols in Medicine and the AAAR. He received his B.A. in psychology from Dartmouth College and his M.D. from Tufts University School of Medicine.