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Air quality in megacities Faraday Discussion

17 - 20 November 2020, Online, United Kingdom


Join us online in November 2020 for this virtual addition to our Faraday Discussion series. 


On behalf of the scientific committee, we extend a warm invitation to you to join us online in November 2020 to discuss the important issue of air quality in megacities.
Faraday Discussions are unique international scientific conferences that focus on rapidly developing areas of chemistry and their interfaces with other scientific disciplines. Many Discussions have become landmarks in their field, and I hope you will join us at this Discussion to make your contribution to this famous series of meetings.
The meeting will be of interest to established scientists as well as post-graduate students and industrial researchers across a diverse range of disciplines, from atmospheric chemists and air quality scientists to meteorologists and atmospheric physicists. 
We look forward to welcoming you and we very much hope you will join us.

Roy Harrison, University of Birmingham, UK
Chair, Air quality in megacities
Kebin He, Tsinghua University, China
Co-host, Air quality in megacities


Air pollution is rarely out of the news nowadays. Very high levels of pollution have been observed in many cities across both developing economies of the world and developed world cities with varying degrees of regularity.

Science, and chemistry in particular, has a major role to play both in understanding the causes of high air pollutant concentrations and also in informing the development of cost-effective mitigation strategies.

Predicting urban air quality demands detailed knowledge of both the physical properties (thermodynamics and dynamics) of the urban atmosphere and pollutants within it, and the chemical reactions of those pollutants which can transform one pollutant into another and which have a major impact on measured levels.  It is also necessary to understand the relative contributions of local emissions and of pollutants transported into the city from more distant sources. 


Faraday Discussions remain amongst the only conferences to distribute the speakers’ research papers in advance, allowing the majority of each meeting to be devoted to discussion in which all delegates can participate.  Following each meeting a written record of the discussion is published alongside the papers in the Faraday Discussions journal.

Find out more about the Faraday Discussions in this video:


Chemistry plays a role both for the transported and the local emissions, and whereas for the primary (emitted) pollutants, concentrations are likely to be reduced proportionately with reductions in emissions, in the case of secondary pollutants formed within the atmosphere, the relationship between precursor emissions and reaction products is often strongly non-linear.  This discussion aims to improve our understanding of the underlying processes responsible; an essential pre-requisite to developing the high quality numerical models of urban air pollutants which are required to develop and test mitigation strategies prior to implementation. 

The Faraday Discussion will be organised into the following themes:

Current status and trends in air quality in megacities
Looking globally at the current status of urban air quality and examining critically for different pollutants, this session will examine whether the air quality is currently improving or deteriorating, with reasons for those changes being examined. 
Physico-chemical processes in the urban atmosphere (neighbourhood scale)
Focusing on new knowledge of the chemical and physical evolution of pollutants on a range of scales from street to neighbourhood, this session will focus on this key scale for understanding the evolution and processing of pollutants from road traffic and from other low-level sources. The interaction of locally-emitted primary pollutants with the general urban background will be considered.   

Physico-chemical processes in the urban atmosphere (city scale)
There are many processes which are significant on the scale of an entire urban area which, due to their timescale, do not proceed significantly on the neighbourhood scale, e.g. formation of nitrate aerosol and the oxidation of sulphur dioxide to sulphate. Both processes are substantially enhanced by multi-phase processes in which the presence of haze catalyses the chemical formation of further condensed phase material.  The haze also inhibits mixing within the lower atmosphere, hence increasing concentrations.  This session will also discuss the interaction of urban emissions with the regional background.  

Effects, mitigation and policy
The ultimate value of scientific research in the urban atmosphere is to provide the knowledge necessary to develop high quality numerical models of urban atmospheric processes and from these to develop mitigation strategies.  Knowledge of effects on human health are also critical in that they are an essential component of cost-benefit studies and identifying policy priorities.
Abstract Submission

Oral Abstracts and Research Papers - closed

A full research paper containing new unpublished results always accompanies oral presentations at Faraday Discussions. Submit an oral/paper abstract by 23 March 2020 if you wish to be considered for an oral presentation and associated published paper. The oral/paper abstract should outline current research in progress. Authors of the selected abstracts must then submit a full research paper with a significant amount of new, unpublished work by 29 June 2020.

The research papers are reviewed upon submission and are emailed to all delegates 4 weeks before the meeting so they can be read in advance. At the meeting the presenting author is allowed five minutes to highlight the main points of their paper, and the rest of the time is for discussion. The discussion is recorded and will be published alongside the research paper in the Faraday Discussion Volume.  

Poster Abstracts

Submit your poster abstract by 7 October 2020. Interactive virtual posters will be displayed throughout the meeting, and time has been set aside for a dedicated poster session as well.”. The Faraday Division Poster Prize will be awarded to the best poster presented by a student at the conference.

Additional Information

Authors will be notified of the outcome of the review process within about 6 weeks of the submission deadline. The abstracts should be no longer than one A4 page in portrait layout. Please ensure you provide the details of the presenting author and indicate whether you are submitting an abstract for oral or poster presentation.

Registration is now closed for the online event.

Please read the registration information before registering.  You can register by clicking on the online registration link on this page.

For non-member registrants attending this event, affiliate membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry is available until the end of 2021, the affiliate membership application will be processed and commence once the registrant has attended the event.

Registration includes:
  • Access to the virtual conference
  • Attendance at all the discussion sessions
  • Attendance at the poster session(s)
  • Attendance at the networking sessions
  • Access to the discussion pre-prints, available in PDF format to download

Regsitration fees are as follows (VAT will be charged at the prevailing rate)
Members* £37.50
Non-members £45.83
Student members* £8.33
Student non-members £16.67

Faraday Discussion publication.

A copy of the final theme issue of the Faraday Discussion volume containing papers presented at the Discussion (issued approximately 5 months after the meeting) is not included in the registration fee. A copy of the volume may be purchased at less than half price, this discounted price is only available to Discussion delegates when ordering during the registration process.

RSC membership rates

If you are a RSC member and wish to register for this meeting, please select the member option on the online registration page. You will need to enter your membership number. For non-member registrants attending this event, affiliate membership of the RSC is available until the end of 2021, the affiliate membership application will be processed and commence once the registrant has attended the event.

Student rates

In order to encourage undergraduate or postgraduate students to attend the Discussion, a reduced conference fee is available. This fee applies to those undertaking a full time course for a recognised degree or a diploma at a university or equivalent institution.

Terms and Conditions for Events run by the Royal Society of Chemistry


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