What is EuroAirnet?

EuroAirnet, the European Air Quality monitoring network, is a selection of existing air quality monitoring stations in Europe. It has been developed in close cooperation with the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European countries. The EuroAirnet development was initiated in 1996 and its main aim was to support EEA in realization of its main objective: "to provide the Community and the Member States with objective, reliable and comparable information at the European level enabling them to take the requisite measures to protect the environment, to assess the results of such measures and to ensure that the public is properly informed about the state of the environment". In the mid-90ties the availability of current air quality data across Europe was poor, and there was a need to provide tools and procedures for more speedy data reporting.

During 1996-2000, 29 countries made a selection for EuroAirnet out of their existing monitoring stations. The selection was based on the EuroAirnet selection criteria for areas and stations, as well as related to compound selection and data quality requirements. The criteria were specified with the aim to provide a consistent set of monitoring stations across Europe for producingfor producing European-wide air quality assessments, by ETC/EEA and others.

Section Progress and status describes the present relation between the EuroAirnet activities and the present data reporting situation under the updated Exchange of Information decision (EoI) and the AQ Directives.

Objectives of EuroAirnet

The main goal of EuroAirnet was to establish a network with sufficient spatial coverage, representativeness and quality to provide the basic data as soon as possible, with a time delay not longer than 6 months, to fulfil the information requirement of EEA.

At the start, one foresaw a situation where EuroAirnet would not only be a selection of stations for timely data reporting and air quality assessments made from that. One also looked towards the combined use of monitoring and modeling activities to produce more spatially complete AQ and exposure assessments, which would further be used as basis for developing abatement strategies. Thus, a three-staged objective was specified:

The EuroAirnet activities so far fall only under Stage 1. Stage 2 and 3 activities are now going on in Europe under other programmes (e.g. the UNECE LRTAP Convention and its EMEP Task Force on Measurements and Modelling; the EU CAFE programme) and the EU project Air4EU.

EuroAirnet selection criteria

The more than 30 European countries have a multitude of air quality monitoring networks in operation, with a total of more than 6000 monitoring stations (EEA Topic Report 26/1996 -- Air pollution monitoring in Europe - Problems and trends). The criteria for selecting areas and stations etc. to be included in EuroAirnet were developed so that a consistent smaller set of stations across Europe could be selected from this large number of stations.

Criteria for selection of areas and stations to be included in EuroAirnet are described in EEA Technical Report No. 12, 1999.
Criteria have been developed for:

Summary of the EuroAirnet selection criteria

Reporting of data

The data collected annually within the context of EuroAirnet/EoI is reported to the EC and EEA via the ETC/ACC by means of the Data Exchange Module (DEM).

The DEM is a country support tool used by the countries for reporting all types of EU and EEA mandatory air quality measurement data and stations information. It serves also for the reporting of national air quality measurements and meta data in the context of the Exchange of Information (EoI) as laid down in the Council Decision 97/101/EC and its Amended Annexes 2001/752/EC. The reporting of the data from the EuroAirnet stations (being network and station related meta data) is currently, via de DEM tool, fully integrated with the other air quality data reporting activities at the country level for the EU and EEA. The countries can also use the DEM to report data to the UNECE LRTAP Convention.

The information collected under EuroAirnet and the EoI support the objectives of the EEA and allows to:

All the data collected under EuroAirnet and EoI is stored and publicly available through the database AirBase at this web site.

Reporting requirements

Contact persons on air quality in the countries (EIONET National Reference Centres (NRC) Air Quality)

Progress and status

EuroAirnet has been developed in close interaction with the countries at annual workshops, country visits and other contacts.
Milestones of EuroAirnet activities up to 2000 include:

Status at November 2000 as illustration of results reached until 2000

The situation regarding reasonably fast availability of air quality data from a large number of monitoring stations across Europe has changed with time significantly since 1996. Up to 1996 the availability of up-to-date data (on annual basis) was very poor, which was one of the reasons for the EuroAirnet activities. After 1996 the data availability improved markedly through the development of AirBase and the DEM tool for data reporting. This and the updating of the Exchange of Information (EoI) Decision resulted in a more active participation in the data reporting by the then 15 EU member States. Most other EEA Member Countries also started to use the DEM as their reporting tool, and reported actively, and still do. The data from the EuroAirnet stations are available in AirBase, where they are marked as EuroAirnet stations. Some countries use their EuroAirnet selection as their network for reporting to the Commission, while others report data from several more stations. Each country reports according to its interpretation of the EoI Decision and its Annexes, and according to the situation in the country regarding the stations which are needed to comply with the requirements in the Daughter Directives of the Air Quality Framework Directive.

Further EuroAirnet activities

There are still needs for improvements in air quality data completeness and quality at the European scale, so that the body of data shall provide a background for European air quality assessments as good as possible, including assessments of trends in exposure and effects. These needs include:

Currently (autumn 2004), in support to the future integration of 5 west-Balkan countries in the European Union (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Croatia - formally a EU candidate country since 28 June 2004 - and Serbia-Montenegro), the EuroAirnet experiences and materials - together with recent EU legislation and country-specific requirements - will serve to establish or improve air quality monitoring and reporting infrastructures in these countries, as well as between the countries and the EU and EEA, fulfilling European Unions legislative requirements.