Aarhus Universitets segl

No. 162: The Danish Air Quality Monitoring Programme. Annual Summary for 2014

Ellermann, T., Nøjgaard, J.K., Nordstrøm, C., Brandt, J., Christensen, J., Ketzel, M., Massling, A. & Jensen, S.S. 2015. The Danish Air Quality Monitoring Programme. Annual Summary for 2014. Aarhus University, DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy, 64 pp. Scientific Report from DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy No. 162. http://dce2.au.dk/pub/SR162.pdf


This report presents the result from the Danish Air Quality Monitoring Programme in 2014. The monitoring programme is carried out by the DCE - Danish Centre for Environment and Energy (DCE) at Aarhus University. The core part of this programme consists of continuous measurements at eleven monitoring stations; nine stations situated in the four largest cities, two stations located in background areas and a minor station in a suburban area. These measurements are supplemented with model calculations using DCE’s air quality models.

The aim of the program is to monitor air pollutants relevant to human health in accordance with the EU air quality directives. The programme includes measurements of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx/NO2), particulate mass (PM10 and PM2.5), particle number, benzene (C6H6), toluene (C7H8), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and a number of heavy metals including lead (Pb), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg) and nickel (Ni). In 2009 the programme was expanded with measurements of a number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are precursors for formation of ozone. The measurements and model calculations are used to evaluate the Danish air quality in relation to limit values as well as to follow trends. Further, the program serves as basis for determination of sources of the air pollutants, basis for evaluation of the impact of regulations of emissions and as basis for various research projects related to air quality.

In 2014 the permitted number of exceedances in a year of the diurnal limit value of 50 µg/m3 for PM10 were not exceeded at any stations in the measuring network, even at stations where exceedances previously has occurred (the two traffic stations in Copenhagen (HACB/1103 and Jagtvej/1257)). There were likewise no exceedances of the annual limit values for PM10 (40 µg/m3) and PM2.5 (25 µg/m3 from 2015).

The number of particles in ambient air was about 14000 particles per cm3 as annual average at the street station H.C. Andersens Boulevard. This is a factor of roughly about 3 and 5 higher than in urban and rural background, respectively. A significant reduction in particle number has been observed since 2002.

The sodium content in PM10 on street stations was about 1.5 µg/m3 corresponding to an estimated annual salt content (NaCl) of about 3.7 µg/m3. High diurnal values of salt were observed during periods with winter salting of roads.

The annual limit value for NO2 (40 µg/m3) was exceeded at one street station in Copenhagen (H.C. Andersens Boulevard), whereas no exceedances were observed in Odense, Aalborg and Aarhus. The NO2 concentrations were in 2014 on the same level as in 2013 for most of the stations. At H.C. Andersens Boulevard (HCAB/1103) the concentrations were lower in 2014 compared to 2013; however, there were still elevated concentrations of NO2 compared to the situation before 2010. The main reason for these elevated concentrations is a permanent change in the traffic lanes at the street segment in front of the measurement station.

Model calculations at selected streets in Copenhagen and Aalborg indicate that the limit value was exceeded at 11 out of 98 calculated streets in Copenhagen but not at any streets in Aalborg in 2014.

The ozone levels were in 2014 higher than in 2013 at all rural and urban background stations, however the changes are small and no clear trend is observed for the average ozone concentration. The information threshold at 180 µg/m3 was not exceeded in 2014. The target value for the max. 8 hours ozone concentration on 120 µg/m3 was not exceeded, but the long-term objective for this parameter was exceeded at all Danish stations.

Measurements of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at the urban background in Copenhagen showed concentration levels between 0.02 µg/m3 and 0.89 µg/m3 for the selected 17 different compounds. VOCs can act as ozone precursors and the aim of these measurements is to improve the general understanding of the ozone formation on an European level. The formation of ozone in Denmark is in general small due to moderate solar radiation The ozone pollution in Denmark is to a large extent the result of long distance transport of pollutants from other European countries south of Denmark.

The levels of SO2 and heavy metals have decreased for more than two decades and are now far below the limit values. The limit values for benzene and CO are not exceeded and the levels have decreased for the last decade.

Measurements of particle bound PAH concentrations were performed at H.C. Andersens Boulevard, Copenhagen and at the suburban measurement station at Hvidovre. The average concentration of benzo[a]pyrene was 0.29 ng/m3 and 0.39 ng/m3 at H.C. Andersens Boulevard and Hvidovre, respectively. The higher concentrations at Hvidovre are due local use of wood burning for residential warming. The target value for benzo[a] pyrene (1 ng/m3) was not exceeded in 2014.

Mearurements of the chemical content in PM2.5 showed that the annual average concentrations of NH4+, Na+, K+, Mg2+, Cl-, NO3-, SO42- are very similar at the street station at H.C. Andersens Boulevard and at the rural station at Risø. The main difference between the two stations are for elemental carbon (EC), organic matter (OM) and Ca2+ where the concentrations are higher at the street station compared to the rural background station. This is mainly due to emissions of these compounds from the traffic in Copenhagen.

Actual data, annual and multi-annual summaries are available at the website of DCE (http://dce.au.dk/en/authorities/air/), in Danish