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The first stakeholder meeting shows the advancements in RI-URBANS’ pilot activities

RI-URBANS' first stakeholder meeting was held online on May 30th with the objective of demonstrating the project's societal and environmental benefits and informing about the progression of the pilot actions.    The stakeholder discussion promoted cooperation and common efforts between RI-URBANS and other air quality monitoring actors.      The RI-URBANS' first stakeholder meeting was held online on May 30th with the aim of showing the advancements of the project pilot activities to the stakeholders and bringing together the expertise and feedback from all the actors. A total of 57 participants attended the meeting. Among the stakeholders, representatives of the European Environmental Agency (EEA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), together with delegates from several European Commission institutions (DG-ENV, JRC, or AQUILA) provided valuable feedback on RI-URBAN'S progress during its first year. After a brief introduction of RI-URBANS' challenges, objectives, and strategic pillars by Xavier Querol and Tuukka Petäjä, coordinators of the project, the pilot leaders took the lead in explaining the advancements in each of the pilot cases.   Pilot 1 - Near-real-time aerosol apportionment of carbonaceous aerosols   Hilkka Timonen, from the Finish Meteorological Institute (FMI), described the main objective: to pilot near-real-time source apportionment tools combining Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor (ACSM), organic aerosol, and aethalometer black carbon online measurements, and its related tasks. The pilot is expected to start on 1st January 2023 and the implementation will take place in 13 sites in 7 European countries. Pilot 1 has also started building synergies with the US. Having similar tools to make intercomparisons and obtain comprehensive observations will provide great benefit in the advancement of air quality monitoring in both the EU and US urban environments.   Pilot 2 - Near-real time provision of nanoparticle number size distribution data   David Beddows, from the University of Birmingham, explained Pilot 2. This pilot provides nanoparticles data and their size distribution from 3 main European cities (Barcelona, Birmingham, and Helsinki), together with 2 volunteer cities (Paris and Athens). The explanation was followed by a discussion between RI-URBANS' coordinators and some stakeholders about ensuring the compatibility of observational data between ACTRIS and Air Quality Monitoring Networks for aerosol size distribution measurements, and the standardization of these measurements.   Pilot 3 - Urban fine-scale mapping including innovative modelling, monitoring, and crowdsourcing.   Katherin Sartelent (French National Centre for Scientific Research, CNRS) and Gerard Hoek (University of Utrecht) showed the Pilot 3 progress with its objective of describing the urban variability of outdoor exposure to nanoparticles and other pollutants using modelling tools, mobile measurements, black carbon and particulate matter mid-cost sensors, and the citizens’ participation. Some of the campaigns involving different mobile measurement approaches have already started (i.e. Bucharest campaign). The Rotterdam and Birmingham campaigns are expected to start in Autumn 2022. Ultrafine particle concentration (raw data) measured on May, 4. 2022 in Bucharest. | Image source: Doina Nicolae (INOE)   Pilot 4 - Novel health indicators of nanoparticles and particulate matter components and source contributions. [...]

By |2022-06-20T09:23:54+00:00June 8, 2022|newspost, Uncategorized|0 Comments

RI-URBANS invites associated collaborators in the project

  The RI-URBANS project, in its mission to develop a European air quality monitoring system that enhances and complements those that are currently available, encourages research institutions to become Associated collaborators in the project. The research institutions should be active in the field of air quality in Europe and the health impact of air pollution. Associated Collaborators may contribute their expertise to the project’s objectives and benefit from the activities undertaken within the project. They will be involved in the project on a basis of a collaborative relationship (i.e. supplying data, being involved in measurements in pilot studies, interpreting data, exploiting results, and participating in meetings), but without any financial or contractual implication Application Procedure Application Form for Associated Collaboration with RI-URBANS    

By |2022-06-27T10:45:52+00:00May 27, 2022|newspost|0 Comments

RI-URBANS’ pilots start in Bucharest to obtain urban fine scale mapping and pollution hotsposts

The measurements will map the variability and distribution of pollutants across the city and will assess the contribution of pollution hotspots, such as power plants and heavy road traffic.    The campaign will be running until mid-June, extending the tasks in winter 2022-2023 based on other work packages' requirements.     The Bucharest campaigns, led by researchers from the National Institute for Research and Development for Optoelectronics (INOE), Bucharest, Romania, have just started to implement tasks from RI-URBANS' pilots 3 and 5. RI-URBANS' pilot 3 focuses on mapping the variability and distribution of nanoparticles and other pollutants in the city. Not only the assessment takes into consideration a few fixed sampling sites, but also the horizontal and vertical variability across the city. Within the Bucharest campaign, a mobile platform is taking measures of ultrafine particles, PM1, PM2.5, and PM10 concentrations on a predefined route, from 8:30h-16:00h (including rushing hours), one day per week, if weather permits. More intensive measurements (every day) are planned for 23 May to 13 June.   Ultrafine particle concentration (raw data) measured in May, 4. 2022. | Image source: Doina Nicolae (INOE)   RI-URBANS' pilot 5 addresses the nanoparticle contributions from urban hotspots: roadsides, airports, industry, and harbours. In the Bucharest campaigns, hotspot monitoring includes two fixed sites (MARS -Măgurele Center for Atmosphere and Radiation Studies- and INCAS, next to the Bucharest Heating Power Plant) and one mobile platform to perform intensive fine scale mapping. Pollution hotspots in Bucharest assessed during the RI-URBANS' pilot 5 campaign. | Image source: INOE   Read more about RI-URBAN'S pilot studies following this link.

By |2022-05-11T11:18:57+00:00May 11, 2022|newspost, Uncategorized|0 Comments

What are ultrafine particles?

RI-URBANS project focuses on particulate matter and ultrafine particles to enhance the air pollution monitoring systems in Europe.   Ultrafine particles, particles smaller than  0,1 µm, can be absorbed in the lung tissue and quickly enter the bloodstream, causing negative effects on the population.   What are ultrafine particles?   Ultrafine particles are usually defined as particles smaller than 0,1 µm (100nm) in diameter. To quickly get an idea about their extremely small size, if pollen had the size of a football stadium, the ultrafine particle from diesel soot would be the ball. In urban areas, ultrafine particles, also called nanoparticles, have a major anthropogenic origin, mostly primary emissions from road traffic. However, new particle formation processes can generate also ultrafine particles from precursor gaseous pollutants. This is known as nucleation or new particle formation and can be produced close to the exhausts or photochemically at urban and regional scales. Accordingly, the contributions of these sources to urban ultrafine particles might differ according to climate and emission patterns. TEM photomicrograph of ultrafine particles sampled in ambient air in Barcelona. | Image source: Xavier Querol (CSIC)   Ultrafine particles are measured in number concentrations (number/cm3) while standards of atmospheric particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5, particles smaller than 10µm and 2.5µm, respectively) are set up for mass concentrations (µg/m3).   The improvements in urban air quality in Europe undergone during the last 15 years allowed to reduce PM10 and PM2.5, but this does not necessarily imply a proportional decrease of ultrafine particles.   When particulate matter levels are high, gaseous pollutants tend to condensate on these particles and the mass concentration grows. On the contrary, when particulate matter levels are low but there is high insolation new particle formation might be favoured instead of condensation and this increases the number concentration.   Why ultrafine particles might be so relevant for health?   Epidemiological and toxicological studies suggest that negative health effects may increase with exposure to decreasing particle size. Due to its nanometric size, inhaled ultrafine particles are uptaken by epithelial cells in the lungs where they can even penetrate the tissue. They can also be translocated to the interstitial space that lies in between blood vessels or can reach directly the bloodstream, making it more difficult for its removal from the body. Another effect of these particles is the lack of macrophage recognition in the alveoli, which impairs the immune system to detect and remove them from the lungs. Ultrafine particles are inhaled and can be absorbed by the alveoli tissue, entering directly the circulatory system | Image source: OpenStax College, under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.   The association between exposure to nanoparticles and health outcomes is, however, inconsistent in the literature, probably due to: reduced number of studies (compared to studies on PM2.5), lack of representativeness of the few existing nanoparticles measuring sites, hampering their link with health outcomes, differences in measurements protocols differences in source contributions: Whereas in some cities most days with high [...]

By |2022-03-31T14:37:47+00:00March 30, 2022|newspost, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel mentions RI-URBANS as a key example of open data research infrastructure

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel was interviewed for the RISIS Newsletter to illustrate in her vision the future of European research and innovation in addressing societal challenges and adding value to citizens’ daily lives. RI-URBANS project was mentioned as an example of open research infrastructure to enhance air quality monitoring systems in the hands of administrations, agencies and citizens.  The European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, highlighted RI-URBANS project as a key example of open research infrastructure to improve air quality monitoring networks and, ultimately, mitigate the impact of poor air quality on human health. Interviewed for the RISIS Newsletter #6 European Excellence in Research: Paving the Path for Young generations,  Commissioner Gabriel stressed how open research infrastructures like the Horizon 2020 project RI-URBANS help to address the European Green Deal priorities while involving directly citizens. "Combining air quality monitoring networks and research infrastructures knowledge and technologies, RI-URBANS deploys tools and information systems in the hands of citizens and communities to support decision-making by air quality managers and regulators. This is one example of how an effective European Research Area can deliver to the society and improve citizens’ lives", mentioned Commissioner Gabriel.   Read the full RISIS Newsletter on this link.

By |2022-02-23T12:19:53+00:00February 23, 2022|newspost|0 Comments

RI-URBANS kick-off meeting: improving air quality monitoring capacities in Europe

The project will focus on nanoparticles and atmospheric particulate matter, their sizes, constituents, sources, and gaseous precursors It seeks to implement new service tools that contribute to improving air quality in European cities The European Commission funded project, RI-URBANS, has been officially launched with the aim to provide advanced service tools from atmospheric research infrastructures to better assess the air quality in Europe. The kick-off meeting took place online on 5-6 October 2021 with more than 90 participants from 28 partners across Europe. The project was introduced by the coordinators Xavier Querol (Spanish National Research Council Spain, CSIC, Spain) and Tuukka Petäjä (University of Helsinki, UHEL, Finland) with the European Green Deal specific action project outlook by the Jimena Arango-Montanez (EC Project Officer). RI-URBANS brings together 11 cities and 28 partners across Europe in its objective of implementing advanced air quality monitoring observations in cities and industrial hotspots. This is a golden opportunity to apply advanced air quality research to assess on the health effects of air pollution and on cost effective policies to reduce it, not only for the conventional air pollutants but also for non-regulated ones”, declared the researcher and RI-URBANS coordinator Xavier Querol. To pursue its strategy, RI-URBANS (which stands for Research Infrastructures Services Reinforcing Air Quality Monitoring Capacities in European Urban & Industrial AreaS) will focus on ambient nanoparticles and atmospheric particulate matter, their sizes, constituents, source contributions, and gaseous precursors, evaluating novel air quality parameters, source contributions, and their associated health effects to demonstrate the European added value of implementing such service tools. “The project brings together local air quality monitoring networks and European Research infrastructures on atmospheric composition (ACTRIS and IAGOS). This allows two-way interaction to develop and pilot novel service tools and harmonize data streams in real city environments with a pan-European coverage” underlined UHEL professor and RI-URBANS coordinator Tuukka Petäjä. During the kick-off meeting, the RI-URBANS concept, scientific basis and research tools as well as planned research activities in the project were presented and discussed. In particular, these included topics of novel air quality metrics and advanced source apportionment service tools in urban environments (i.e. ultrafine particles and volatile organic compounds; off- and online source apportionment of ultrafine particles and particulate matter; and profiling observations). The health effect assessment of particulate matter and its components, nanoparticles, and their source contributions is also a crucial part of the project. The project will also focus on improving regional/urban modelling and emission inventories for policy assessment. RI-URBANS will also improve modelling and emission inventories for policy assessment and will implement five pilots in nine cities (Athens, Barcelona, Birmingham, Bucharest, Helsinki, Milano, Paris, Rotterdam-Amsterdam, Zurich) to test and demonstrate these services for advanced air quality monitoring systems and evaluation of human exposure. Moreover, RI-URBANS will upscale service tools; elaborate engagement strategies with stakeholders; and disseminate/ knowledge transfer the obtained results through various communication channels. The Russian sister projects to RI-URBANS also delivered presentations about research infrastructures development for assessing air quality in the Moscow megapolis, and [...]

By |2022-02-21T14:22:51+00:00October 25, 2021|newspost|Comments Off on RI-URBANS kick-off meeting: improving air quality monitoring capacities in Europe
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