3 Progress on Tasks

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3. PROGRESS ON TASKS

3.1 Maintaining and Developing the Air Quality Aspects of EIONET

EEA National Focal Points and National Reference Centres for air quality have been involved in the work of the ETC-AQ in a number of ways.

First, NFPs were involved in discussions on the work plan. Work plans and developments were presented at three NFP/EIONET meetings in February, June and October, in which the project leader and sometimes other ETC members participated. Six ETC reports prepared in 1995 were submitted for comment to NFPs/NRCs, and useful comments were received and used for improvements.

In a workshop organised by the ETC in Copenhagen, 23-25 April, 58 participants of 17 EEA member countries, 10 PHARE countries, the ETC-AE and international organisations (EC-DGXI, JRC-ERLAP, WHO-ECEH, and UNECE-EMEP) reviewed and discussed ETC work and results, and proposed priorities for future work. Five position papers on monitoring, assessment, modelling and information systems were presented at the workshop by the ETC. A workshop report available from the ETC, summarising discussions and conclusions, was prepared and sent to all participants. See also Box on page 6.

A program for visiting the EEA member countries has been started. ETC experts visited Austria, Germany, Greece, Sweden and France. In these visits, mostly combined with national meetings of regional/urban institutions for air quality monitoring and assessment, ETC work was presented, with emphasis on the monitoring network EURO-AIRNET and the information system AIRBASE, the national infrastructure in monitoring, modelling and data bases and information systems were discussed, and prospects for intensified collaboration were explored. These visits were considered very useful, both by the ETC and the countries, and will be continued.

NFPs and/or NRCs delivered upon request national air quality data. Most of these were provided to DGXI, and hence to the ETC, voluntarily under the EC Exchange of Information Decision (EoI); the procedures for non-EU members were synchronised with the EoI, and the same formats and procedures were used.

Three newsletters informing a wider audience on recent ETC developments and products were produced and disseminated to about 900 addresses in Europe.

In June, the ETC participated in the launch meeting of the PHARE-EEA project for collaboration with 13 Central and Eastern European countries. ETC work and plans were presented and discussed with participants from these countries. The ETC helped in defining terms of reference for the PHARE Topic Link, a consortium from PHARE countries that is intended to expand and reinforce the ETC work and help expand into a pan-European co-ordination effort.

The European Air Quality Monitoring and Information Network EURO-AIRNET is intended to provide the basic data, with a time delay of maximum 6 months, that is necessary to fulfil the EEA information requirements. Basic principles as presented to the Copenhagen Workshop 23-25 April 1996.

The conceptual framework for Air Quality Management, presented at the Copenhagen Workshop 23-25 April 1996.

The conceptual framework for Air Quality Management


3.2 Ad Hoc Technical Support to EEA

In the first half of 1996, work under this task included support of EC/DGXI, including participation in various working groups on Air Quality Directives, reports under the Ozone Directive, and work on the Guidance report on supplementary assessment under the new Framework Directive (96/62/EEC). This work is reported here under section 3.6.

On request of EEA, the ETC commented on various draft reports, including the ISIS Air Manual, and the WHO-EEA booklet on Air Pollution, and participated in meetings

such as the EC/DGXI acidification abatement strategy, and the ETC/MC Inter Regional Forum.

The ETC supported IVM, the Netherlands, in the DGXI project "Evaluation of air quality targets" by providing concentrations of particulate matter (PM10), calculated on the basis of an emission inventory compiled for RIVM and the Dutch Environment Ministry by TNO. This IVM work will be reported early 1997.

Resources under this task were also used to enhance interactions and develop contact with the EEA Scientific Committee.


3.3 Further Developing the European Air Quality Monitoring Network

In a position paper for the ETC workshop in April, which can be considered as a first draft guidance report, the goals and principles of a European air quality monitoring network were developed. The network, called EURO-AIRNET, should be formed from selected existing stations and networks, but should meet defined requirements on quality assurance, representativeness, and data reporting in order to satisfy the needs of EEA's assessment reports. The position paper was discussed at the workshop and conclusions were laid down in the workshop report, copies of which can be made available on request to the ETC.

Substantial effort was spent in updating and revising a report that had been prepared in 1995 "Report on state of the air pollution monitoring situation in Europe - problems and trends" (main report and Appendices) on the basis of comments from the NFPs/NRCs and new information coming in from various countries. The final version of this report was delivered to EEA in November and will be published as Topic Report 26/1996 in 1997.

Work was continued on a guidance report on quality assurance, on the basis of an earlier draft report on a common minimum quality assurance program prepared in 1995. This work was carried out in collaboration with JRC-ERLAP and should be completed and published in 1997.


3.4 Further Development, Implementation and Update of the Air Quality Information System

An air quality information system called AIRBASE has been designed, and partly implemented. The system was designed to be fully consistent with the new EC Exchange of Information Decision, building on the experience obtained with the EC systems APIS and GIRAFE, which had been reviewed by the ETC in 1995. It combines air quality data with information on monitoring networks and stations. The system, which is designed to provide information at different levels of aggregation to a variety of users, consist of three layers. Two of these layers have been implemented: a relational database which forms the basic layer, and an Internet World Wide Web access facility as the top layer, which was released in July. Due to budget restrictions, a PC version designed as the intermediate layer could not be implemented in 1996 and facilities in the top layer remain limited.

A user-friendly PC input module for network and station information called AIRBADM has been developed and made available via ETC’s Homepage (http://www.etcaq.rivm.nl), where documentation on AIRBASE and AIRBADM is also available. Help is provided to member countries, if necessary by personal advice.

The basic database has been initially filled with the information from APIS and GIRAFE, which has been subject to screening procedures and quality assurance. In July, EC/DGXI and EEA requested member countries to voluntarily submit data and information for 1994/1995 and earlier years in agreement with the previous Exchange of Information Decision. As standard formats, ISO 7168 and NASA-AMES formats were accepted as well as formats used previously by the countries. By the end of 1996, data and information had been received from only 10 EEA member countries and two other European countries, and was almost completely inserted into the database. Due to minor or sometimes major deviations from the format, considerable extra resources were needed for data conversion while information in non-standard format could not be accepted. The ETC is contributing to the revision of the ISO 7168 format. Procedures for calculation of statistics have been reviewed by the ETC, revised and applied, in preparation for reporting of the data.

The ETC Homepage where AIRBASE can be accessed is also used to present ETC newsletters and, since December 1996, also links to ETC reports on ozone (see 3.6) published by the EEA on its Homepage (http://www.eea.dk).


3.5 Further Development of Air Pollution Modelling Infrastructure and Applications

Reports on model requirements ("Review of requirements for models and model applications" Topic Report 18/1996) and on state of the art ("Ambient air quality, pollutant dispersion and transport models. State of the art, needs and trends" Topic Report 19/1996) prepared in 1995 were revised taking into account comments by member countries, and delivered as final versions. The reports will be published in 1997. Work on a guidance document on selection of models and input data for groups of applications, started in 1995 was continued; a draft report was submitted for comment to EEA in July, but work to improve the draft continued into 1997. A guidance report on urban modelling is also under development.

At the workshop of the ad-hoc initiative on harmonisation of modelling in Oostende, Belgium, 6-9 May, ETC experts presented ETC work on modelling, and participated in a panel discussion. The work in this task was also presented at various other conferences.

The ETC developed, in collaboration with the ad-hoc initiative, an information and documentation system on atmospheric models, accessible through Internet. An internal pilot version, including description of 13 models, was realised in summer. Model experts throughout Europe were invited to provide documentation on their models. By the end of the year, various responses were received, but more information is needed before the system can be made widely accessible.


3.6 Assessments and Support of EU, UNECE and WHO

Air Quality in Europe 1993 report

On the basis of comments received from member countries and additional information, the report "Air Quality in Europe, 1993, a pilot report" (main report and appendices), that had been prepared as a draft in 1995 was substantially revised. The report was then delivered to EEA as a final version in December for publication as EEA Topic Report 25/1996 in 1997.

Supporting and improving ozone forecasting and information exchange

In May 1996 Ministers for the Environment meeting at the London Conference on Tropospheric Ozone in Northwest Europe called on the European Environment Agency, in co-operation with technical experts throughout Europe, to develop an action plan for a co-ordinated European system for data exchange and for forecasting air pollution episodes. The Ministers agreed to establish a pilot group for the North European sub-region and expected as outcome the promotion of further exchange of expertise and methodology, the exploration of methods of improving forecasts and the development of a programme for joint evaluation of the systems.

Under co-ordination of the ETC, a Technical Working Group on Data exchange and Forecasting for Ozone episodes in Northwest Europe (TWG-DFO) was formed. This group, with experts from 10 countries met for the first time on 11 October, and decided to produce a first report reviewing national systems for ozone episode forecasting, developing criteria for evaluation, and making recommendations on rapid data exchange. The report, to be edited by the ETC, will be published as an EEA Technical Report in 1997.


Days of exceedances of the theshold value for damage to vegetation observed at background stations 1 January - 31 December 1995. Data as reported under the Ozone Directive and presented to the European Council.

Reporting for EC/DGXI under the Ozone Directive

On request of EC/DGXI, the ETC has prepared reports on the basis of data submitted to the Commission by Member States in the framework of the Ozone Directive. In May, the ETC delivered an Annex and update to an earlier report "Exceedance of ozone threshold values in the European Community in 1994", taking into account data delivered after the deadline by Germany. This Annex was not planned in the initial work programme, and hence was completed under the ad hoc support task.

The report "Exceedance of Ozone threshold values in the European Community in 1995" by De Leeuw and Van Zantvoort was delivered to EEA and DGXI in September. The report contains information and data from 858 stations in 15 EU member states as submitted to EC under the Ozone Directive, and draws conclusions on exceedances and statistics of ozone concentrations.

The report "Information Document concerning air pollution by Ozone- Overview of the situation in the European Union during the 1996 summer season (April-July)" by Sluyter and Van Zantvoort was delivered early October to EEA and DGXI. The report provides a first evaluation of exceedances of ozone threshold values in summer 1996, on the basis of information received from 15 EU member states. These reports were published on the EEA Homepage http://www.eea.dk in December and will be published in printed form as Topic Report in 1997.

Participation in EC AQ Directive working groups

On request of EC/DGXI, ETC experts participated in four EC Air Quality Directive working groups preparing position papers for SO2, NO2, lead and (fine) particulate matter and in the Steering Group supervising these activities. The ETC experts provided information on the European level as written comments to the lead country authors. These position papers provide a basis for the Commission’s proposal for a Daughter Directive for these pollutants under the Framework Directive 96/62/EC. ETC experts also participated in work of the EC Expert Group on Photochemical Pollution.


Guidance report on supplementary assessment under EC Framework AQ Directives

On request of EC/DGXI, the ETC has prepared a draft guidance report on supplementary assessment under the EC Framework Directive on air quality assessment and management. The report should provide guidance on preliminary assessments, monitoring station siting optimisation, and generalisations of monitoring results, by combining measurements, emission data, and modelling. An early draft submitted to EEA and DGXI for comment in September was reconsidered to make it more practical; a next version is now planned to be submitted to the Steering Group on Air Quality Directives in February 1997.


Support of WHO-ECE-EEA health impact assessment

Support was offered by EEA and the ETC to a project set up by a consortium including WHO-ECEH , the UN-ECE Coordination Centre for Effects and IIASA and others, to assess the health impact of urban and regional air pollution under various scenarios, using the RAINS model for integrated assessment. The work was specifically set up to support the UN-ECE second NOx protocol to be negotiated in 1997.


Air Pollution in Europe 1997 report

This report, which will analyse four major air pollution issues (climate change, acidification/eutrophication, tropospheric ozone and (urban) air quality along the causal (DPSIR) chain, is to be prepared by March 1997 jointly by the ETC-AE and ETC-AQ. Project planning and report annotated contents were produced and data collection and analysis was started. A very important element in this report is the urban emission estimates compiled by the ETC-AE.

98 percentile SO2 concentrations in selected European cities 1993. Presented in the pilot report "Air Quality in Europe"


3.7 Preparation for EEA Periodical Reports

The ETC has provided extensive comments to draft chapter outlines and guidelines for data collection for the next EEA Europe’s Environment "Dobris+3" report. The ETC has prepared a work plan for contributions to the report, with lead responsibilities for chapters on stratospheric ozone, tropospheric ozone, and acidification, and contributions to chapters on urban stress and chemicals. The EEA has contracted the ETC for this work. The ETC has also agreed to contribute to the EEA/JRC project on Data Flow Analysis for Integrated Assessment.

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