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The FAIRness of ACTRIS Data Centre
The purpose of this report is to document the status and implementation of FAIRness within ACTRIS Data centre as of March 2023, developed over the period January 2019 – March 2023.
The report is an extended version of ENVRI-FAIR deliverable D8.4 due March 2023 and available through Zenodo: ENVRI-FAIR D8.4: The FAIRness of ACTRIS | Zenodo, only including the work until autumn 2022. This present report adds more information to the implementation of the FAIR principles by ACTRIS Data Centre over the period January 2019 – March 2023. In addition to D8.4, the present report provides a comprehensive external FAIRness assessment covering the entire period 2019 - 2023, along with an evaluation of the implementation in the years 2022 and the first half of 2023. It's important to note that the project deliverable only encompasses the period from 2019 to 2021.
Trends in Air Pollution in Europe, 2000–2019
This paper encompasses an assessment of air pollution trends in rural environments in Europe over the 2000–2019 period, benefiting from extensive long-term observational data from the EMEP monitoring network and EMEP MSC-W model computations. The trends in pollutant concentrations align with the decreasing emission patterns observed throughout Europe. Annual average concentrations of sulfur dioxide, particulate sulfate, and sulfur wet deposition have shown consistent declines of 3-4% annually since 2000. Similarly, oxidized nitrogen species have markedly decreased across Europe, with an annual reduction of 1.5-2% in nitrogen dioxide concentrations, total nitrate in the air, and oxidized nitrogen deposition. Notably, emission reductions and model predictions appear to slightly surpass the observed declines in sulfur and oxidized nitrogen, indicating a potential overestimation of reported emission reductions. Ammonia emissions have decreased less compared to other pollutants since 2000. Significant reductions in particulate ammonium have however, been achieved due to the impact of reductions in SOx and NOx emissions. For ground level ozone, both the observed and modelled peak levels in summer show declining trends, although the observed decline is smaller than modelled. There have been substantial annual reductions of 1.8% and 2.4% in the concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5, respectively. Elemental carbon has seen a reduction of approximately 4.5% per year since 2000. A similar reduction for organic carbon is only seen in winter when primary anthropogenic sources dominate. The observed improvements in European air quality emphasize the importance of comprehensive legislations to mitigate emissions.
Optical and Microphysical Properties of the Aerosols during a Rare Event of Biomass-Burning Mixed with Polluted Dust
A rare event of mixed biomass-burning and polluted dust aerosols was observed over Athens, Greece (37.9° N, 23.6° E), during 21–26 May 2014. This event was studied using a synergy of a 6-wavelength elastic-Raman-depolarization lidar measurements, a CIMEL sun photometer, and in situ instrumentation. The FLEXPART dispersion model was used to identify the aerosol sources and quantify the contribution of dust and black carbon particles to the mass concentration. The identified air masses were found to originate from Kazakhstan and Saharan deserts, under a rare atmospheric pressure system. The lidar ratio (LR) values retrieved from the Raman lidar ranged within 25–89 sr (355 nm) and 35–70 sr (532 nm). The particle linear depolarization ratio (δaer) ranged from 7 to 28% (532 nm), indicating mixing of dust with biomass-burning particles. The aerosol optical depth (AOD) values derived from the lidar ranged from 0.09–0.43 (355 nm) to 0.07–0.25 (532 nm). An inversion algorithm was used to derive the mean aerosol microphysical properties (mean effective radius (reff), single scattering albedo (SSA), and mean complex refractive index (m)) inside selected atmospheric layers. We found that reff was 0.12–0.51 (±0.04) µm, SSA was 0.94–0.98 (±0.19) (at 532 nm), while m ranged between 1.39 (±0.05) + 0.002 (±0.001)i and 1.63 (±0.05) + 0.008 (±0.004)i. The polarization lidar photometer networking (POLIPHON) algorithm was used to estimate the vertical profile of the mass concentration for the dust and non-dust components. A mean mass concentration of 15 ± 5 μg m−3 and 80 ± 29 μg m−3 for smoke and dust was estimated for selected days, respectively. Finally, the retrieved aerosol microphysical properties were compared with column-integrated sun photometer CIMEL data with good agreement
Alcoa Mosjøen. Measurements of CF4 and C2F6 emissions from Alcoa Aluminium’s smelter at Mosjøen, Norway.
NILU performed a test campaign for measurements of CF4 and C2F6 for stack emissions at Alcoa Mosjøen Smelter. Time-integrated samples were taken with evacuated canisters combined with low-flow restrictors for continuous sampling periods as long as 4 weeks. The samples were analyzed at NILU with a Medusa preconcentration method combined with GC-MS SIM. As a main conclusion, time integrated sampling together with Medusa GC-MS methodology is a very precise alternative to the traditional attempts to quantify PFC-emission.
A scalable method for identifying key indicators to assess urban environmental sustainability: A case study in Norway
Urbanization presents numerous societal challenges and exacerbates environmental issues. It is crucial to comprehend the current state and future direction of cities to formulate strategies and actions that mitigate negative consequences while ensuring a prosperous future for citizens. This study presents a universally applicable method for selecting indicators to gauge urban environmental sustainability. It aims to aid in structuring thinking for understanding and implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within urban settings, using Norway as a case study but with a clear potential for broader applications. To achieve this, a comprehensive literature survey was conducted to gain insight into how urban environmental sustainability is conceptualized and operationalized in Norway. This involved assessing the key environmental challenges, as well as the strategies and action plans associated with them. Standardized sustainable cities' indicators served as references, which were then tailored to the municipal level to address the identified environmental challenges specific to Norwegian cities. Furthermore, the study discussed the proposed indicators for tracking the progress and state of these specific environmental challenges. In doing so, it establishes a foundation for comprehending environmental issues and establishing connections between indicators and environmental strategies and action plans in the urban sustainability context. Importantly, the methodologies and indicators we have unveiled in this study are designed to be applicable to cities beyond Norway, offering a scalable and adaptable approach for evaluating environmental challenges internationally. This work proposes a novel approach for evaluating the status and trends of environmental challenges by employing targeted indicators. These indicators can be expanded to include social and economic dimensions, enabling decision-makers and stakeholders to prioritize actions towards urban sustainability.
Reassessing the role of urban green space in air pollution control
The assumption that vegetation improves air quality is prevalent in scientific, popular, and political discourse. However, experimental and modeling studies show the effect of green space on air pollutant concentrations in urban settings is highly variable and context specific. We revisited the link between vegetation and air quality using satellite- derived changes of urban green space and air pollutant concentrations from 2,615 established monitoring stations over Europe and the United States. Between 2010 and 2019, stations recorded declines in ambient NO2, (particulate matter) PM10, and PM2.5 (average of −3.14% y−1), but not O3 (+0.5% y−1), pointing to the general success of recent policy interventions to restrict anthropogenic emissions. The effect size of total green space on air pollution was weak and highly variable, particularly at the street scale (15 to 60 m radius) where vegetation can restrict ventilation. However, when isolating changes in tree cover, we found a negative association with air pollution at borough to city scales (120 to 16,000 m) particularly for O3 and PM. The effect of green space was smaller than the pollutant deposition and dispersion effects of meteorological drivers including precipitation, humidity, and wind speed. When averaged across spatial scales, a one SD increase in green space resulted in a 0.8% (95% CI: −3.5 to 2%) decline in air pollution. Our findings suggest that while urban greening may improve air quality at the borough- to- city scale, the impact is moderate and may have detrimental street- level effects depending on aerodynamic factors like vegetation type and urban form.
vegetation | urban planning | green infrastructure | ecosystem service | public health
Query-driven Qualitative Constraint Acquisition
Many planning, scheduling or multi-dimensional packing problems involve the design of subtle logical combinations of temporal or spatial constraints. Recently, we introduced GEQCA-I, which stands for Generic Qualitative Constraint Acquisition, as a new active constraint acquisition method for learning qualitative constraints using qualitative queries. In this paper, we revise and extend GEQCA-I to GEQCA-II with a new type of query, universal query, for qualitative constraint acquisition, with a deeper query-driven acquisition algorithm. Our extended experimental evaluation shows the efficiency and usefulness of the concept of universal query in learning randomly-generated qualitative networks, including both temporal networks based on Allen’s algebra and spatial networks based on region connection calculus. We also show the effectiveness of GEQCA-II in learning the qualitative part of real scheduling problems.
Design of multi-luminescent silica-based nanoparticles for the detection of liquid organic compounds
Tracer testing in reservoir formations is utilised to determine residual oil saturation as part of optimum hydrocarbon production. Here, we present a novel detection method of liquid organic compounds by monodisperse SiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) containing two luminophores, a EuIII:EDTA complex and a newly synthesised fluorophore based on the organic boron-dipyrromethene (BODIPY)-moiety. The particles exhibited stable EuIII PL emission intensity with a long lifetime in aqueous dispersion. The fluorescence of the BODIPY was also preserved in the aqueous environment. The ratiometric PL detection technique was demonstrated by using toluene and 1-octanol as model compounds of crude oil. The optimal synthesis conditions were found to give NPs with a diameter of ~100 nm, which is suitable for transport through porous oil reservoir structures. The cytotoxicity of the NPs was confirmed to be very low for human lung cell and fish cell lines. These findings demonstrate the potential of the NPs to replace the hazardous chemicals used to estimate the residual oil saturation. Moreover, the ratiometric PL detection technique is anticipated to be of benefit in other fields, such as biotechnology, medical diagnostics, and environmental monitoring, where a reliable and safe detection of a liquid organic phase is needed.
The challenges of opportunistic sampling when comparing prevalence of plastics in diving seabirds: A multi-species example from Norway
There is a need for baseline information about how much plastics are ingested by wildlife and potential negative consequences thereof. We analysed the frequency of occurrence (FO) of plastics >1 mm in the stomachs of five pursuit-diving seabird species collected opportunistically.
Atlantic puffins (Fratercula arctica) found emaciated on beaches in SW Norway had the highest FO of plastics (58.8 %), followed by emaciated common guillemots (Uria aalge; 9.1 %) also found beached in either SW or SE Norway. No plastics were detected in razorbills (Alca torda), great cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo), and European shags (Gulosus aristotelis) taken as bycatch in northern Norway. This is the first study to report on plastic ingestion of these five species in northern Europe, and it highlights both the usefulness and limitations of opportunistic sampling. Small sample sizes, as well as an unbalanced sample design, complicated the interpretation of the results.
Opinion of the Scientific Committee on health, environmental and emerging risks on the safety of titanium dioxide in toys
The Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks advises the European Commission on whether the uses of titanium dioxide in toys and toy materials can be considered to be safe in light of the identified exposure, and the classification of titanium dioxide as carcinogenic category 2 after inhalation. Four toy products including casting kits, chalk, powder paints and white colour pencils containing various amounts of TiO2 as colouring agent were evaluated for inhalation risks. For the oral route, childrens’ lip gloss/lipstick, finger paint and white colour pencils were evaluated.
When it can be demonstrated with high certainty that no ultrafine fraction is present in pigmentary TiO2 preparations used in toys and toy materials, safe use with no or negligible risk for all products considered is indicated based on the exposure estimations of this Opinion. However, if an ultrafine fraction is assumed to be present, safe use is not indicated, except for white colour pencils.