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A surrogate-assisted measurement correction method for accurate and low-cost monitoring of particulate matter pollutants

Wojcikowski, Marek; Pankiewicz, Bogdan; Bekasiewicz, Adrian; Cao, Tuan-Vu; Lepioufle, Jean-Marie; Vallejo, Islen; Ødegård, Rune Åvar; Ha, Hoai Phuong

Air pollution involves multiple health and economic challenges. Its accurate and low-cost monitoring is important for developing services dedicated to reduce the exposure of living beings to the pollution. Particulate matter (PM) measurement sensors belong to the key components that support operation of these systems. In this work, a modular, mobile Internet of Things sensor for PM measurements has been proposed. Due to a limited accuracy of the PM detector, the measurement data are refined using a two-stage procedure that involves elimination of the non-physical signal spikes followed by a non-linear correction of the responses using a multiplicative surrogate model. The correction layer is derived from the sparse and non-uniform calibration data, i.e., a combination of the measurements from the PM monitoring station and the sensor obtained in the same location over a specified (relatively short) interval. The device and the method have been both demonstrated based on the data obtained during three measurement campaigns. The proposed correction scheme improves the fidelity of PM measurements by around two orders of magnitude w.r.t. the responses for which the post-processing has not been considered. Performance of the proposed surrogate-assisted technique has been favorably compared against the benchmark approaches from the literature.


Validation of an advanced 3D respiratory tri-culture model at the air-liquid interface for hazard assessment of nanomaterials

Camassa, Laura Maria Azzurra; Elje, Elisabeth; Mariussen, Espen; Longhin, Eleonora Marta; Haugen, Kristine; Dusinska, Maria; Zienolddiny-Narui, Shan; Rundén-Pran, Elise


Monitoring of environmental contaminants in air and precipitation. Annual report 2021.

Bohlin-Nizzetto, Pernilla; Aas, Wenche; Halvorsen, Helene Lunder; Nikiforov, Vladimir; Pfaffhuber, Katrine Aspmo

This report presents data from 2021 and time-trends for the Norwegian monitoring programme "Atmospheric contaminants". The results cover 200 organic compounds (regulated and non-regulated), 11 heavy metals, and a selection of organic chemicals of concern.



Health Risk Assessment of Air Pollution and the Impact of the New WHO Guidelines

Soares, Joana; Ortiz, Alberto González; Gsella, Artur; Horálek, Jan; Plass, Dietrich; Kienzler, Sarah

Air pollution is a major cause of premature death and disease and is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe. Heart disease and stroke are the most common reasons for premature deaths attributable to air pollution, followed by lung diseases and lung cancer.

The health risk assessment methodology assumptions have been recently adapted to follow the recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO), released in 2021. The new global air quality guidelines by WHO provide up-to-date health-based guideline levels for major health-damaging air pollutants and new recommendations for assessing the risk of exposure to air pollution.
This report estimates the health risk related to air pollution in 2020 based on the latest methodology. The estimates consider the number of premature deaths and years of life lost related to exposure to fine particulate matter, ozone and nitrogen dioxide, both for the 27 Member States of the European Union and for additional 14 European countries (Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, and Türkiye).

A sensitivity analysis to the changes in concentration-response functions and counterfactual concentrations is performed to understand the impact of such changes on the mortality outcome estimates. The sensitivity analysis included both old and new health risk methodology assumptions but also the recommendation from the ELAPSE study on the concentration response functions. The ELAPSE project includes some of the most recent studies on the health effects at low air pollution levels by examining associations between exposures to relatively low levels of air pollution across Europe, including levels below the current EU standards.

The results for 2020 show that the largest health risks are estimated for the countries with the largest populations. However, in relative terms, when considering e.g., years of life lost per 100 000 inhabitants, the largest relative risks are observed in central and eastern European countries for PM2.5, in central and southern European countries for NO2, and south and eastern European for O3. The lowest impact is found for the northern and north-western parts of Europe, where the concentrations are lowest. The number of premature deaths attributed to air pollution in 2020 compared to 2019, increased for PM2.5 and decreased for NO2 and O3. Apart from the changes in concentrations and demographics, the COVID-19 pandemics seems to also have an influence on these changes. For PM2.5, the reduction in concentrations were counteracted by the excess of deaths due to the pandemics. In the case of NO2, the reduction in concentrations was more pronounced as a result of the lockdown measures and the drastic reduction in traffic and its impact in reducing mortality was bigger than the increasing impact of excess of deaths due to COVID-19.

Changing assumptions on concentration-response functions and counterfactual concentrations have implications for estimating mortality health outcomes. The sensitivity analysis shows that it is not straightforward to assess which assumptions estimates the highest health impacts when both factors change. In this case, the final outcome will depend on the concentration at the grid-cell level. The latest assumptions are expected to reduce the health outcomes for PM2.5 and increase for NO2 and O3, when compared to the previous one. When aggregated to all countries, the health outcomes are reduced by over 40 % for PM2.5 and increased by 50 % and 30 % for NO2 and O3, respectively, in 2020. However, this change varies across countries depending on the concentration level the population in the individual countries is exposed to.



Validation of Aerosol Model and Reanalysis Products over the Arctic and Implications for Regional Aerosol-Cloud Interactions

Zamora, Lauren M; Kahn, Ralph A.; Evangeliou, Nikolaos; Zwaaftink, Christine Groot; Huebert, Klaus


Updated trends for atmospheric mercury in the Arctic: 1995–2018

MacSween, Katrina; Stupple, Geoff; Aas, Wenche; Kyllönen, Katriina; Pfaffhuber, Katrine Aspmo; Skov, Henrik; Steffen, Alexandra; Berg, Torunn; Mastromonaco, Michelle Nerentorp

The Arctic region forms a unique environment with specific physical, chemical, and biological processes affecting mercury (Hg) cycles and limited anthropogenic Hg sources. However, historic global emissions and long range atmospheric transport has led to elevated Hg in Arctic wildlife and waterways. Continuous atmospheric Hg measurements, spanning 20 years, and increased monitoring sites has allowed a more comprehensive understanding of how Arctic atmospheric mercury is changing over time. Time-series trend analysis of TGM (Total Gaseous Mercury) in air was performed from 10 circumpolar air monitoring stations, comprising of high-Arctic, and sub-Arctic sites. GOM (gaseous oxidised mercury) and PHg (particulate bound mercury) measurements were also available at 2 high-Arctic sites. Seasonal mean TGM for sub-Arctic sites were lowest during fall ranging from 1.1 ng m−3 Hyytiälä to 1.3 ng m−3, Little Fox Lake. Mean TGM concentrations at high-Arctic sites showed the greatest variability, with highest daily means in spring ranging between 4.2 ng m−3 at Amderma and 2.4 ng m−3 at Zeppelin, largely driven by local chemistry. Annual TGM trend analysis was negative for 8 of the 10 sites. High-Arctic seasonal TGM trends saw smallest decline during summer. Fall trends ranged from −0.8% to −2.6% yr−1. Across the sub-Arctic sites spring showed the largest significant decreases, ranging between −7.7% to −0.36% yr−1, while fall generally had no significant trends. High-Arctic speciation of GOM and PHg at Alert and Zeppelin showed that the timing and composition of atmospheric mercury deposition events are shifting. Alert GOM trends are increasing throughout the year, while PHg trends decreased or not significant. Zeppelin saw the opposite, moving towards increasing PHg and decreasing GOM. Atmospheric mercury trends over the last 20 years indicate that Hg concentrations are decreasing across the Arctic, though not uniformly. This is potentially driven by environmental change, such as plant productivity and sea ice dynamics.



RI-URBANS Data management​

Myhre, Cathrine Lund; Fiebig, Markus; Rud, Richard Olav; Thouret, Valérie; Boulanger, Damien


A multi-pollutant and multi-sectorial approach to screening the consistency of emission inventories

Thunis, Philippe; Clappier, Alain; Pisoni, Enrico; Bessagnet, Bertrand; Kuenen, Jeroen; Guevara, Marc; Lopez-Aparicio, Susana

Some studies show that significant uncertainties affect emission inventories, which may impeach conclusions based on air-quality model results. These uncertainties result from the need to compile a wide variety of information to estimate an emission inventory. In this work, we propose and discuss a screening method to compare two emission inventories, with the overall goal of improving the quality of emission inventories by feeding back the results of the screening to inventory compilers who can check the inconsistencies found and, where applicable, resolve errors. The method targets three different aspects: (1) the total emissions assigned to a series of large geographical areas, countries in our application; (2) the way these country total emissions are shared in terms of sector of activity; and (3) the way inventories spatially distribute emissions from countries to smaller areas, cities in our application. The first step of the screening approach consists of sorting the data and keeping only emission contributions that are relevant enough. In a second step, the method identifies, among those significant differences, the most important ones that provide evidence of methodological divergence and/or errors that can be found and resolved in at least one of the inventories. The approach has been used to compare two versions of the CAMS-REG European-scale inventory over 150 cities in Europe for selected activity sectors. Among the 4500 screened pollutant sectors, about 450 were kept as relevant, among which 46 showed inconsistencies. The analysis indicated that these inconsistencies arose almost equally from large-scale reporting and spatial distribution differences. They mostly affect SO2 and PM coarse emissions from the industrial and residential sectors. The screening approach is general and can be used for other types of applications related to emission inventories.


Some key challenges for subseasonal to decadal prediction research

Merryfield, William J.; Baehr, Johanna; Batté, Lauriane; Beraki, Asmerom; Hermanson, Leon; Hudson, Debra; Johnson, Stephanie; Lee, June-Yi; Massonet, François; Muñoz, Ángel; Orsolini, Yvan J.; Ren, Hong-Li; Saurral, Ramiro; Smith, Doug; Takaya, Yuhei; Raghavan, Krishnan


EMEP modelling of carbonaceous aerosols in Europe: status and issues

Simpson, David; van der Gon, Hugo A.C. Denier; Kuenen, Jeroen; Yttri, Karl Espen


Characterisation of cumulative risk of contaminants to organisms exposed to stormwater in Oslo, Norway

Ruus, Anders; Xie, Li; Wolf, Raoul; Petersen, Karina; Færgestad, E. M.; Heimstad, Eldbjørg Sofie; Harju, Mikael; Tollefsen, Knut-Erik


Svevestøv og miljøfartsgrenser

Grythe, Henrik (intervjuobjekt)


Source apportionment to support air quality management practices. A fitness-for-purpose guide (V 4.0).

Clappier, A.; Thunis, P.; Pirovano, G.; Riffault, V.; Gilardoni, S.; Pisoni, E.; Guerreiro, Cristina; Monteiro, A.; Dupont, H; Waersted, E.; Hellebust, S.; Stocker, J.; Eriksson, A.; Angyal, A.; Bonafe, G.; Montanari, F.; Matejovica, J.; Bartzis, J.; Gianelle, V.

Information on the origin of pollution is an essential element of air quality management that helps identifying measures to control air pollution. In this document, we review the most widely used source-apportionment (SA) methods for air quality management. The focus is on particulate matter but examples are provided for NO2 as well. Using simple theoretical examples, we explain the differences between these methods and the circumstances where they give different results and thus possibly different conclusions for air quality management. These differences are a consequence of the assumptions that underpin each methodology and determine/limit their range of applicability. We show that ignoring these underlying assumptions is a risk for efficient/successful air quality management when the methods are used outside their scope or range of applicability.

Publications Office for the European Union


Pharmacokinetics of PEGylated Gold Nanoparticles: In Vitro—In Vivo Correlation

Dubaj, Tibor; Kozics, Katarina; Srámková, Monika; Manova, Alena; Bastus, Neus G.; Moriones, Oscar H.; Kohl, Yvonne; Dusinska, Maria; Rundén-Pran, Elise; Puntes, Victor; Nelson, Andrew; Gábelová, Alena; Simon, Peter

Data suitable for assembling a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model for nanoparticles (NPs) remain relatively scarce. Therefore, there is a trend in extrapolating the results of in vitro and in silico studies to in vivo nanoparticle hazard and risk assessment. To evaluate the reliability of such approach, a pharmacokinetic study was performed using the same polyethylene glycol-coated gold nanoparticles (PEG-AuNPs) in vitro and in vivo. As in vitro models, human cell lines TH1, A549, Hep G2, and 16HBE were employed. The in vivo PEG-AuNP biodistribution was assessed in rats. The internalization and exclusion of PEG-AuNPs in vitro were modeled as first-order rate processes with the partition coefficient describing the equilibrium distribution. The pharmacokinetic parameters were obtained by fitting the model to the in vitro data and subsequently used for PBPK simulation in vivo. Notable differences were observed in the internalized amount of Au in individual cell lines compared to the corresponding tissues in vivo, with the highest found for renal TH1 cells and kidneys. The main reason for these discrepancies is the absence of natural barriers in the in vitro conditions. Therefore, caution should be exercised when extrapolating in vitro data to predict the in vivo NP burden and response to exposure.



What caused a record high PM10 episode in northern Europe in October 2020?

Zwaaftink, Christine Groot; Aas, Wenche; Eckhardt, Sabine; Evangeliou, Nikolaos; Hamer, Paul David; Johnsrud, Mona; Kylling, Arve; Platt, Stephen Matthew; Stebel, Kerstin; Uggerud, Hilde Thelle; Yttri, Karl Espen

In early October 2020, northern Europe experienced an episode with poor air quality due to high concentrations of particulate matter (PM). At several sites in Norway, recorded weekly values exceeded historical maximum PM10 concentrations from the past 4 to 10 years. Daily mean PM10 values at Norwegian sites were up to 97 µg m−3 and had a median value of 59 µg m−3. We analysed this severe pollution episode caused by long-range atmospheric transport based on surface and remote sensing observations and transport model simulations to understand its causes. Samples from three sites in mainland Norway and the Arctic remote station Zeppelin (Svalbard) showed strong contributions from mineral dust to PM10 (23 %–36 % as a minimum and 31 %–45 % as a maximum) and biomass burning (8 %–16 % to 19 %–21 %). Atmospheric transport simulations indicate that Central Asia was the main source region for mineral dust observed in this episode. The biomass burning fraction can be attributed to forest fires in Ukraine and southern Russia, but we cannot exclude other sources contributing, like fires elsewhere, because the model underestimates observed concentrations. The combined use of remote sensing, surface measurements, and transport modelling proved effective in describing the episode and distinguishing its causes.


Sentinel-5P based NOx emissions from large combustion plants for comparison with and possibly QA/QC of E-PRTR emissions

Stebel, Kerstin; Schneider, Philipp; Hamer, Paul David; Tarrasón, Leonor; Weydahl, Torleif; Antognazza, Frederico


Tiltaksutredning for lokal luftkvalitet i Levanger. Del 1: Kartlegging.

Weydahl, Torleif; Teigland, Even Kristian

Tiltaksutredningen for lokal luftkvalitet i Levanger, del 1 Kartlegging, skal gjøre rede for forurensningssituasjonen og mulige tiltak for å redusere nivået av luftforurensning innenfor kravene i forurensningsforskriften. Tiltaksutredningen omfatter en kartlegging med utslipps- og spredningsberegninger for alle relevante kilder til PM10 og PM2,5 i 2017 og 2019. I tillegg er det utført målinger av disse komponentene gjennom hele 2021 ved en målestasjon (Kirkegata) i Levanger sentrum. Basert på resultatene fra kartleggingen, er det foreslått en handlingsplan med fire hovedpunkter som kan bidra til å redusere forurensningsnivåene i Levanger.



The present and future shortwave radiative forcing of tyre and brake wear microplastics

Evangeliou, Nikolaos; Kylling, Arve; Eckhardt, Sabine; Stohl, Andreas


Differences in Trophic Level, Contaminant Load, and DNA Damage in an Urban and a Remote Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) Breeding Colony in Coastal Norway

Keilen, Ellen Kristine; Borgå, Katrine; Thorstensen, Helene Skjeie; Hylland, Ketil; Helberg, Morten; Warner, Nicholas Alexander; Bæk, Kine; Reiertsen, Tone Kristin; Ruus, Anders

Herring gulls (Larus argentatus) are opportunistic feeders, resulting in contaminant exposure depending on area and habitat. We compared contaminant concentrations and dietary markers between two herring gull breeding colonies with different distances to extensive human activity and presumed contaminant exposure from the local marine diet. Furthermore, we investigated the integrity of DNA in white blood cells and sensitivity to oxidative stress. We analyzed blood from 15 herring gulls from each colony—the urban Oslofjord near the Norwegian capital Oslo in the temperate region and the remote Hornøya island in northern Norway, on the Barents Sea coast. Based on d13C and d34S, the dietary sources of urban gulls differed, with some individuals having a marine and others a more terrestrial dietary signal. All remote gulls had a marine dietary signal and higher relative trophic level than the urban marine feeding gulls. Concentrations (mean ± standard deviation [SD]) of most persistent organic pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyl ethers (PCBs) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), were higher in urban marine (PCB153 17 ± 17 ng/g wet weight, PFOS 25 ± 21 ng/g wet wt) than urban terrestrial feeders (PCB153 3.7 ± 2.4 ng/g wet wt, PFOS 6.7 ± 10 ng/g wet wt). Despite feeding at a higher trophic level (d15N), the remote gulls (PCB153 17 ± 1221 ng/g wet wt, PFOS 19 ± 1421 ng/g wet wt) were similar to the urban marine feeders. Cyclic volatile methyl siloxanes were detected in only a few gulls, except for decamethylcyclopentasiloxane in the urban colony, which was found in 12 of 13 gulls. Only hexachlorobenzene was present in higher concentrations in the remote (2.6 ± 0.42 ng/g wet wt) compared with the urban colony (0.34 ± 0.33 ng/g wet wt). Baseline and induced DNA damage (doublestreak breaks) was higher in urban than in remote gulls for both terrestrial and marine feeders.

Pergamon Press


An actionable annotation scoring framework for gas chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry

Koelmel, Jeremy P.; Xie, Hongyu; Price, Elliott J.; Lin, Elizabeth; Manz, Katherine E.; Stelben, Paul J.; Paige, Matthew K.; Papazian, Stefano; Okeme, Joseph; Jones, Dean P.; Barupal, Dinesh Kumar; Bowden, John; Rostkowski, Pawel Marian; Pennell, Kurt D.; Nikiforov, Vladimir; Wang, Thanh; Hu, Xin; Lai, Yunjia; Miller, Gary W.; Walker, Douglas; Martin, Jonathan W.; Pollitt, Krystal J. Godri

Omics-based technologies have enabled comprehensive characterization of our exposure to environmental chemicals (chemical exposome) as well as assessment of the corresponding biological responses at the molecular level (eg, metabolome, lipidome, proteome, and genome). By systematically measuring personal exposures and linking these stimuli to biological perturbations, researchers can determine specific chemical exposures of concern, identify mechanisms and biomarkers of toxicity, and design interventions to reduce exposures. However, further advancement of metabolomics and exposomics approaches is limited by a lack of standardization and approaches for assigning confidence to chemical annotations. While a wealth of chemical data is generated by gas chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry (GC-HRMS), incorporating GC-HRMS data into an annotation framework and communicating confidence in these assignments is challenging. It is essential to be able to compare chemical data for exposomics studies across platforms to build upon prior knowledge and advance the technology. Here, we discuss the major pieces of evidence provided by common GC-HRMS workflows, including retention time and retention index, electron ionization, positive chemical ionization, electron capture negative ionization, and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization spectral matching, molecular ion, accurate mass, isotopic patterns, database occurrence, and occurrence in blanks. We then provide a qualitative framework for incorporating these various lines of evidence for communicating confidence in GC-HRMS data by adapting the Schymanski scoring schema developed for reporting confidence levels by liquid chromatography HRMS (LC-HRMS). Validation of our framework is presented using standards spiked in plasma, and confident annotations in outdoor and indoor air samples, showing a false-positive rate of 12% for suspect screening for chemical identifications assigned as Level 2 (when structurally similar isomers are not considered false positives). This framework is easily adaptable to various workflows and provides a concise means to communicate confidence in annotations. Further validation, refinements, and adoption of this framework will ideally lead to harmonization across the field, helping to improve the quality and interpretability of compound annotations obtained in GC-HRMS.

Oxford University Press