Aerosol Metrology for Atmospheric Science and Air Quality

The AEROMET Project

Measurements of aerosol particles are vital for enforcing EU air quality regulations to protect human health and for research on climate change effects.

The AEROMET (Aerosol Metrology for Atmospheric Science and Air Quality) project lays the foundation and strengthens metrological frameworks for air quality monitoring in Europe. The overall aim of the project is to develop and demonstrate methods with improved traceability and sensitivity for aerosol composite analysis.

The effectiveness of the recently introduced EU countermeasures against air pollution depends on the excellence of the air quality metrology. Although metrics such as the mass concentration of airborne particulate matter (PM), including PM10 and PM2.5, are currently in use, the level of uncertainty is too high and the traceability is insufficient.

One specific objective of the AEROMET project is to apply mobile X-ray spectroscopy techniques combined with particle sampling techniques to quantify particle compositions in the field for real time analysis. Results are then corroborated by a backup lab-based reanalysis of samples.

During summer 2018 two on-site campaigns were conducted in Hungary and Italy. Aerosols were captured with different sampling technologies; for instance a Dekati 13 stage impactor, which fractionates particles in the range from 0.03 to 10 µm. Sampling was performed on acrylic discs, which were directly measured with one of Bruker's TXRF spectrometers without any further treatment. Even after short sampling times, toxic elements like Ni, Pb, As could be quantified and related to specific particle fractions.