Smoke coming from a chimney.

The Air Pollution Model developed at CSIRO can assess pollution from industrial sites and individual chimneys.

Science for a healthier atmosphere

CSIRO's air-quality science provides understanding of air pollutants, guidance for managing air quality and improved management tools.

  • 16 March 2006 | Updated 14 October 2011

Key elements of CSIRO’s atmospheric research include the study of air pollutants, their dispersion in the atmosphere, and their impact on human health.

CSIRO’s Healthy Atmosphere research, led by Dr John Gras, provides quality science to support policy and air-quality management.

Key science issues

Air pollution is recognised globally as a serious environmental threat. Industry, power generation and motor vehicles release pollutants into the atmosphere that may lead to photochemical smog, haze, and acidification.

The type of air pollution and the impact it may have depends on a range of factors. These include:

  • the pollutant source
    The Air Pollution Model (TAPM) developed by CSIRO is used by more than 120 organisations in 18 countries.
  • reactions in the atmosphere
  • transport by winds
  • land features.

CSIRO's Healthy Atmosphere science provides:

  • air-quality assessments and forecasting
  • solutions to mitigate air pollution emissions and our exposure to them.

CSIRO's Healthy Atmosphere research aims to:

  • understand the links between air quality and health and help air quality managers to use this knowledge
  • develop the science needed to understand pollution sources, transformations in the atmosphere, and impacts on air quality and the environment
  • develop and provide scientific advice and tools for policy makers.


CSIRO is the principal Australian provider of advanced science and assessment tools and technologies for air-quality management and policy development.

One key output is The Air Pollution Model (TAPM), a globally-distributed software package for assessing the spread and impact of air pollution. It is used under licence by more than 120 national and international organisations in 18 countries.

In addition, our new advanced air chemistry model, CCTM, is now being trialled by Australian state government agencies. Several measurement instruments have also been commercialised and new opportunities are being sought for developing compact sensors and instruments for personal and indoor air pollution monitoring.

Our laboratories and field sampling instrumentation are delivering new data and insights into issues ranging from urban woodsmoke, urban reactive chemistry and air toxics.

Key directions

The key directions of our Healthy Atmosphere research include:

  • breakthrough scientific tools for urban photochemical smog management and for integrated industrial rare-event assessments
  • significant advances in environmental–health exposure knowledge and prediction.

Delivering to National Research Priorities

This research delivers to several National Research Priorities, including ‘Promoting and Maintaining Good Health’.

Read more about our achievements in assessing air quality with an Accurate and easy-to-use air pollution model.