4. The air quality monitoring situation in Europe - State and trends

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4. The Air Quality Monitoring Situation in Europe - State and Trends

In reading of the following summary of European-wide air quality monitoring, one should be reminded that only networks and sites in routine long-term operation have been included in this report. This is of important especially when the inclusion of new methods and/or compounds is discussed. For instance, PM10 may be measured in many countries at test sites or for scientific purposes, and only if it is specifically included as part of long-term monitoring, it is included in the summary here. The same is the case for PAH and probably other compounds.

Summaries are given on the following items:

  • Coverage (temporal, spatial, compounds, site categories)

  • Methods evaluation

  • Data availability

  • Reporting

  • Network description reports

  • Meteorological and emissions data

  • Use of models in the AQ assessment

  • Shortcomings and gaps

  • Near future trends


4.1. State of air quality monitoring in Europe

4.1.1. Coverage

Temporal

Most countries operate the networks the entire year. Exceptions are Norway and Sweden, where the monitoring is concentrated to the six winter months, which have the highest concentrations. For regional sites in Sweden, O3 and NO2 are monitored only in the six summer months, except for the 6 EMEP stations, which are monitored all the year.

It seems like, with a few exceptions, especially in East European countries, the monitoring/sampling covers all days/hours.


Spatial (see Table 4.1)

Most countries have a substantial number of monitoring sites in operation. The networks in each state may be national, regional or local in area coverage, and the organisation of monitoring responsibilities between national, regional or local authorities differs between states.

The largest states in EU have the most sites. Examples: France (close to 900 sites), Germany (more than 500 sites), Spain (about 1000 sites), and UK (about 80 active sampling and over 1100 passive sampling sites).

On the other end of the scale, Albania has 23 urban sites, Greece has 32 sites
(31 urban), Croatia has 41 sites (40 urban), Norway has 45 sites (6 urban), Denmark 35 sites (18 urban), Hungary 39 urban sites, Estonia 18 sites
(16 urban/local).

The number of sites per country is shown on maps in Figures 4.1 and 4.2, for local/industrial and regional air pollution respectively.

Totally, the number of air pollution monitoring sites in Europe is very large. For the 29 countries with data available to us, there are close to 5,000 urban/local sites, and more than 800 regional sites.

The number of sites and networks in operation, and the requirements to monitoring which are set for each of the states, indicate a substantial spatial coverage, in terms of coverage of the areas which have potential air pollution problems. From the information available for this report, the shortcomings or gaps in the coverage, in terms of complete mapping of areas of high concentrations and exceedances, cannot be judged in detail. Such an evaluation must be carried out by each state.


Compounds (see Table 4.2)

Urban/local monitoring

The monitoring in EU member states cover the Compound Specific Directives compounds well (CSD: SO2, NO2, TSP/BS, Pb, O3), with the exception of Pb for a number of states.

Regarding the additional compounds mentioned in the draft Framework Directive (FWD), most EU member states measure CO routinely and 6 member states also include heavy metals in their program. Regarding further compounds included in the EoI draft directive, 8 member states measure VOC. PAH and H2S is also measured routinely in a few states (the Netherlands and the UK).

For the other countries, CSD compounds are also covered well, but local O3 is not measured in 3 states (Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia) and Pb is not measured in 8 states (see Table 4.2). Regarding FWD additional components, CO is measured routinely in 10 of the other states, and heavy metals in 2 of them. Of EoI additional compounds, VOC or benzene/BTX is measured in 5 of those states, H2S in 3 of them, and PAH in one.

It is realised that the gaps in compound coverage may be due to each country’s evaluation of the need to include certain compounds, based on an evaluation of the actual pollution levels, e.g. from previous studies, as well as due to restricted resources, lack of analytical capabilities, or other.


Regional monitoring

The sites have been classified according to compounds, in this way: sulphur and nitrogen compounds in air (SO2 , NO2 , major ions in aerosol), deposition, ozone, ozone precursors.

All states monitor S and N compounds in air and deposition. Regional ozone is monitored in all states except Greece, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Poland. O3 precursors are measured at one or a few sites in Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and UK. (For Belgium, info on this is lacking.)


Site categories (see Table 4.1)

The sites have been, to the extent possible, categorised as urban general, traffic hot-spot, industrial hot-spot (urban or rural), regional.

All categories are represented in most countries for which the distribution is known from the information available. In most states, most sites are urban general sites. Traffic and industrial hot-spots are less well represented, but in the 19 countries where a full classification of the sites is known, there are the following total number of hot-spot sites:

  • Traffic : 754

  • Urban industrial : 130

  • Rural industrial : 93

 

Table 4.1 Spatial coverage, European AQ monitoring.

 

LOCAL

REGIONAL

  No. of
sites

No. of
cities/towns

Site class distribution

No. of
sites

SO2 +

Dep.

O3

     

UG

UT

Ul

Rl

       

Austria

165

10

100

30

20

15

55

55

35

55

Belgium

168

60

125

30

13

25

 

 

 

 

Denmark

18

3

7

8

3

0

17

6

17

3

Finland

120

30

71

18

28

3

22

8

7

9

France

875

875

21

17

 

21

Germany

467

 

232

156

79

74

658)

 

578)

Greece

31

11

22

2

7

0

1

1

1

0

Ireland

81

15

45

25

10

1

12

7

 

5

Italy

1293)

41

129

34)

3

3

2

Luxembourg

4

1

1

2

1

0

2

1

0

1

the Netherlands

20

9

7

13

0

0

36

30

14

26

Portugal

80

5

6

15

6

53

13

12

3

3

Spain

893

 

288

438

167

190

   

>7

Sweden

66

45

63

3

   

49

12

36

5

U.K.

515)

34

45

2

 

4

>38

38

32

15

Iceland

3

2

1

1

0

1

1

1

   

Liechtenstein

1

1

1

0

0

0

       

Norway

6

6

6

0

0

0

39

12

34

15

Albania

23

11

23

       

Bulgaria

100

 

100

       

Croatia

62

8

62

1

1

0

0

Cyprus

2

1

0

2

0

0

1

1

1

1

Czech Republic

6501)

                 

Estonia

16

9

8

2

6

2

2

2

2

Hungary

39

 

39

2

2

2

 

Poland

>540

7)

>500

33

11

     

Romania

152

 

152

138

4

1372

4

Slovakia

37

17

14

6

10

 

7

7

7

4

Slovenia

86

 

86

4

     

Switzerland

986)

 

55

31

12

 

54

     

TOTAL

>4983

         

>818

     

1) Total for urban and regional. Site classification not known.
2) All stations measure pH, conductivity and acidity/alkalinity. 14 sites measure major ions.
3) Not complete.
4) Only EMEP sites
5) Plus 1100 passive NO2 sampling sites
6) Plus 12 passive SO2 and 102 passive NO2 sites.
7) All cities with >20,000 inhabitants.
8) The number of sites may not be quite correct.

 

Table 4.2: Compound coverage, European AQ monitoring.

 

LOCAL

REGIONAL

CSD1

FWD

EoI

SO2 +

Dep.

O3

O3 precursor

Austria

x CO VOC, H2S

x

x

x

x

Belgium

x CO VOC

x

x

x

Denmark

x CO, Metals

x

x

x

Finland

x CO, Metals

x

x

x

France

x CO VOC

x

x

x

x

Germany

x CO VOC

x

x

x

x

Greece

x CO

x

x

Italy

x CO

x

x

x

Ireland

x

x

x

Luxembourg

x CO, Metals VOC

x

x

x

the Netherlands

x CO, Metals PAH

x

x

x

x

Portugal

x ( - Pb) CO

x

x

x

Spain

x CO, Metals VOC, H2S

x

x

x

Sweden

x Metals VOC

x

x

x

x

U.K.

x CO, Metals VOC, PAH

x

x

x

x

Iceland

x CO

x

x

Liechtenstein

x ( - Pb) CO

Norway

x ( - SO2, Pb) BTX

x

x

x

Albania

x ( - O3, Pb)

x

Bulgaria

x ( - O3) CO, As H2S

x

Croatia

x( - O3 , Pb) H2S, PAH

x

x

Cyprus

x CO

x

x

x

Czech Republic

x AD, Metals

x

x

x

Estonia

x ( - Pb) CO H2S, BTX

x

x

Hungary

x ( - Pb) CO VOC

x

Poland

x CO, Metals

x

Romania

x ( - Pb, SPM) CO VOC

x

x

x

Slovakia

x CO

x

x

x

Slovenia

x CO

x

x

x

Switzerland

x ( - Pb) CO VOC

x

x

x

x

1) x means that all 5 compounds (SO2, NO2, BS/TSP, Pb, O3) are measured.

 

fig-4-1.gif (20359 bytes)

Czech Republic: The number gives the sum of local and regional monitoring sites.

Figure 4.1: Number of sites per country for the monitoring of urban/local/industrial air pollution.

 

fig-4-2.gif (19638 bytes)

Czech Republic: Sum of local and regional sites. Romania: Stations with only precipitation chem. (137) not included in the number.

Figure 4.2: Number of sites per country for the monitoring of regional air pollution (incl. wet deposition).


4.1.2. Methods evaluation

Methods have been roughly classified according to the following scheme:

  • Standard techniques, conforming to the requirements set in EU directives, or considered equivalent to those.

  • State-of-the-art, or advanced techniques.
    These include e.g. the DOAS technique, and diffusion tubes for NO2 , BTX etc.

  • Non-standard techniques.

  • Techniques not conforming to the requirements of the directives, or not considered equivalent, in terms of required accuracy and specificity.

All countries utilise standard or advanced/state-of-the-art methods for some or all of the compounds measured. Many countries in Eastern Europe still utilise non-standard methods for some of the compounds (see Chapter 3 and Appendix A for details).

Table 4.3 shows which countries have, to our knowledge, introduced in the monitoring networks the following new parameters/techniques that are candidates for being introduced soon in directives or as reference methods:

  • PM10, either manual sampling or monitors

  • Benzene/BTX, active methods, either manually by DOAS, or other (UK, see below).

  • Passive samplers for SO2 , NO2 , BTX etc.

Regarding QA/QC procedures, no specific information to classify these has yet been collected.

 

Table 4.3: New compounds/techniques.

PM10

Benzene/BTX

Passive samplers

Hourly

Integrated

Hourly

Integrated

NO2

BTX

Austria

x(œ)

x 1)

x 1)

Belgium

x

Finland

x

x

x

France

x

Germany

x

Greece

x

the Netherlands

x

Portugal

Spain

x

Sweden

x

x

x

U.K.

x

x 2)

x

Iceland

x

x

Norway

x

x

x

x

Cyprus

x

Czech Republic

x

Estonia

x

Poland

x

Slovakia

x

Slovenia

x

Switzerland

x

(œ): half-hourly from 1995.
1): Passive sampling during limited monitoring campaigns.
2): UK has on-line, compound-specific VOC monitoring at 9 sites.

 

4.1.3. Data availability

One of the main features of modern monitoring networks, besides measuring compounds with sufficient accuracy, specificity and coverage, is the ability to make the data available to users and the public soon after the measurement has taken place.

For manual methods requiring analysis in a laboratory after sampling, a typical delay time before quality controlled (or accredited) data are available has normally been at least 1-2 months. Often the delay is much longer, especially if the demand for a short delay time is not made specific.

With the more widespread use of monitors, and as monitors cover more compounds, the possibility for a widespread network giving data daily, or even with shorter delay (hourly, or near-real-time), is increasing.

It is important to differentiate between the cases where data are available in a data base to the responsible agency only, for use internally or in monitoring forecasting systems, and the cases where the data are accessible externally, e.g. for national authorities, to the EEA, to the media etc.

Table 4.4 gives an overview of the specific information we received on the data availability for each country.

According to our information, the following countries can make data from monitors available externally, in near-real-time (one-a few hours delay): Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, U.K., Norway, Cyprus.

Our information is not complete, and many countries are missing from this list, because specific information was not given. Thus, Table 4.4 should be used to give examples of how soon countries make AQ data available. Typically, validated data are available 1-6 months after measurement, varying between countries.

Table 4.4: Data availability (excl. O3 warning).

 

LOCAL

REGIONAL

 

Non-validated data

Validated data

Non-validated data

Validated data

 

1h

24h

1h

24h

1h

24h

1h

24h

Austria

nrt-a

 

1-a

1-a

nrt-a

 

1-a

1-a

Belgium

               

Denmark

nrt-na

1-na

4-na

4-na

nrt-na

1-na

4-na

4-na

Finland

   

1-

1-

       

France

   

9-

     

9-

 

Greece

   

1-2-

   

1-2

Luxembourg

   

2-

   

2

the Netherlands

nrt-a

 

1.5-a

3-a

nrt-a

 

1.5-a

3-a

U.K.

nrt-a

   

3-6-a

nrt-a

 

3-6-a

Norway

nrt-a

 

1-a

2-a

nrt-a

2-na

6-8-

 

Cyprus

nrt-a

 

2-a

nrt-a

 

2-a

Hungary

   

3-

       

Romania

   

1-2-

       

Slovakia

na

 

1-a

   

2-3

Slovenia

daily-a

             

nrt : near-real-time
a : accessible for external users
na : not accessible for external users
1-a : available after 1 month delay

 

4.1.4. Reporting

The information collected on when data reports or summarising reports (e.g. annual reports) are available, is summarised in Table 4.5. Reporting of ozone data to the public is also included here, since there is a special requirement to this in the ozone directive.

Table 4.5: Reporting.

 

O3

Other

Network
description report

Local

Regional

Austria

Daily or several times a day

February

February

x

Finland

 

April

November

 

France

       

Greece

 

April-May

April-May

 

Luxembourg

 

February

February

 

the Netherlands

Twice a day

June

June

x

Sweden

 

September

   

Portugal

       

U.K.

Twice a day

September

   
Liechtenstein Included in Swiss reports  

Norway

   

October-December

 
         

Cyprus

 

December

   

Hungary

 

December

   

Romania

 

June-December

June-December

 

Slovakia

 

August

August

 

Slovenia

 

April-May

   

Switzerland

 

July-August

July-August

 

Annual reports are available after 2-12 months delay.

Also here, the available information is far from complete. Countries like France and German "Länder", the Czech Republic and others certainly publish annual reports within the year after the year in question, but specific information when (which month) was not given.

The examples of how countries report and visualise air quality data, shown in the annexes to the country reports in Appendix A, show how widely this differs. One of the more important observations is that many countries do not give, in their reports, the statistical AQ parameters that are required, by the EU directives. This is one of the major difficulties in comparing air quality across Europe.

 

4.1.5. Network description

There is a column for this in Tables 3.2 and 3.3. Network description reports are at presently available to us only from Austria, the Netherlands and Spain. For many other countries, a more brief description of sites are included in the annual reports.

 

4.1.6. Use of models in the air quality assessment

The following countries provided information about their use of dispersion and/or other models as part of their routine surveillance and assessment of air quality: Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, U.K (Our information about this point is so far incomplete).


4.2. Shortcomings and gaps

This report has described the very substantial effort in all the 30 European countries included, to monitor their air quality in urban and other polluted areas, as well as in regional background areas. Shortcomings or gaps in the effort, evaluated relative to requirements in EU directives, can still be detected in some cases. It must be remembered that the information available to us is not complete in all respects. Thus, we will only identify clearly visible gaps, when we are sure our information is complete.

Spatial monitoring coverage:

The spatial coverage is substantial in all countries. Gaps in coverage must be evaluated by each country themselves.

Compound average:

Some countries do not measure Pb and O3 routinely in the networks (Table 4.2).

Temporal coverage:

In Norway and Sweden, local air quality (except for ozone) is only measured during the 6 winter months.

In some Eastern European countries, all days of the year may not be covered by measurements in some networks. In Albania, for example, measurements are carried out only 7-10 days per month.

Site coverage:

In this report, the site classification urban background, traffic hot-spot, industrial hot-spot (urban or rural), and regional has been used. In many countries, all these classes are well represented, but in some countries, hot-spot monitoring sites are lacking.

Data availability:

Most countries from which we have specific information on this topic, have validated data available in their own data bases within 6 months after monitoring measurements.

Thus, there should be no problem in principle in making the data available to the EEA within 6 months into the year after.

Reporting:

It is not clear that annual reports are available from all networks/countries within one year after. Naturally the contents of the network/natural reports differ substantially between countries, and even between networks/regions in each country.

All countries/networks do not report parameters/statistics as required by the EU directives. This makes European air quality summaries and comparison incomplete.

 

4.3. Near-future trends

For some countries, information was given on processes to evaluate and develop the networks.

In Austria, an evaluation is underway which probably will result in a reduced number of CO sites (and to a minor extent SO2, NO2 and SPM sites), some relocation of sites, and establishing Pb and benzene networks.

In France, the regional networks are being connected to the ADEME, the national monitoring centre, and data from those connected networks will be available in near-real time.

In the UK, the Automated Urban Network is being substantially extended, and an external evaluation of the monitoring efforts is underway.

In Norway, the urban coverage is being improved, and an on-line monitoring and modelling system (AirQUIS) is being established in some cities, providing ability to model urban-scale air quality in near-real time.

In Croatia, the network is under further development, and a central information system is contemplated.

There is also a trend towards including more compounds routinely in the network. Such compounds are PM10 and benzene (or BTEX), for which new EU directives are underway. However, the PM10 monitoring going on at present is not very extensive.

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