EU Science Hub

European Commission Atmospheric Observatory for Air Pollution

The JRC runs the European Commission Atmospheric Observatory for air pollution in Ispra (IT), contributing to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe's European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (UNECE-EMEP) and the World Meteorological Organisation Global Atmosphere Watch (WMO-GAW) programme. The data allow us to benchmark the impacts of the air quality and climate change policies, and show important trends or changes in atmospheric composition.

The JRC observatory measures concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3) and secondary aerosol precursors (SO2, NOx, VOCs) as well as particulate matter (PM). Daily aerosol samples are collected to determine PM2.5 concentration and chemical compositions. Rainwater samples are also collected to assess acidifying and eutrophying species wet deposition.

The measurement programme has been continuously enhanced since 1985 to comprehend the series of variables needed to understand the interaction between air pollution and climate change. The aerosol particle size distribution (in the range 8 nm - 10 ┬Ám), and light absorption and scattering coefficients have been continuously monitored since 2004. The vertical profile of light extinction and backscattering is carried out using a LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging laser beam). More recently, new technologies for measuring NO2 concentration and aerosol optical properties were introduced. Additional measurements are carried out during specific periods to develop EMEP-recommended methodologies or European standards.