Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)

Department

Chemistry

Program Name/Specialization

Environmental Science

Faculty/School

Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Hind Al-Abadleh

Advisor Role

Conceptualization of Research topics, Supervisor

Second Advisor

Lucas Neil

Advisor Role

Quality Assurance protocols were followed, Editor of publications

Third Advisor

Ian Hamilton

Advisor Role

Feedback on analyses, suggestions on research direction

Abstract

Air quality is a growing concern amongst governmental bodies worldwide. A large number of scientific studies accumulated over the past 25 years suggest that poor ambient air quality is attributed to adverse health effects, especially in vulnerable communities that exhibit pre-existing conditions. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported around 600 000 deaths globally in children under the age of 5 as a result of acute lower respiratory infections caused by poor air quality. With the current statistics on air quality impacts, it is clear that more needs to be done. This MSc work aims to put into perspective the current state of air quality in Ontario, Canada and provide insight into mitigation strategies. Here, we focus on 1) characterizing the impacts of COVID-19 on air quality across Southern Ontario (Chapter 2), where emission levels were shown have a significant decrease in the majority of sites studied, 2) exploring the state of air quality near elementary schools in a medium-sized sub-urban city, where locations near major roads and highways exhibited the poorest air quality conditions (Chapter 3), 3) incorporating a machine learning algorithm to disentangle the multitude of variables that influence the state of air quality, where meteorology was found to have the greatest influence, with anthropogenic sources contributing to an extent (Chapter 4), and 4) studies on the dark reaction pathways of aminophenol derivatives (nitrogen-containing aromatic carbons; NOCs), where hygroscopicity growth factors (κ) of these insoluble products under sub- and super-saturated conditions ranged from 0.4-0.6, higher than that of levoglucosan, which is a prominent proxy for biomass burning organic aerosol (BBOA) (Chapter 5). These individual studies highlight the importance of atmospheric chemistry and the need for frequent monitoring and routine studies on mitigation strategies and their formation pathways.

Convocation Year

2022

Convocation Season

Fall

Available for download on Wednesday, March 08, 2023

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