Global Technical function: Burning
Technical Function Unit: Data analysing, Modelling
Geographic Area: Germany

NATAIR

The aim of NATAIR is to improve the accuracy of the data analysing and calculation methods from natural and biogenic emissions and to assess their impact on air pollutant concentration levels and deposition loads in Europe. The projects has developed datasets for modelling on concentration levels from anthropogenic (e.g. combustion processes) and natural (and biogenic) sources.

In order to understand the changes in ambient air concentration caused by the reduction of anthropogenic emissions, it is important to consider and quantify biogenic and natural emissions. The overall effect of any proposed reduction in anthropogenic emissions depends on the level of natural background (and natural emissions), which generally cannot be changed. Prior to this project, estimations of air pollutant concentrations were not as comprehensive and exact in many of the areas of investigation. The last major evaluation was carried out in 1999, and the
air pollution monitoring measurements and methodologies could be considerably improved. The previous evaluation of natural and biogenic emissions was subject to uncertainties and large gaps in available information. Since this time, there have been several emission abatement strategies, thus making accurate natural background data of natural air quality increasingly important.

The project has been carried out within the Sixth Framework programme (FP6) in the Research for Policy Support area (POLICIES-1.5 Environmental assessment), under the coordination of the University of Stuttgart, Institute of Energy Economics and the Rational Use of Energy (IER) of Germany.

The improved methods developed have been used to generate new emission datasets, which are used by atmospheric models to identify effective emission reduction policies. The datasets cover EU25 countries, Switzerland, Norway, and preliminary Bulgaria, Romania and former Yugoslavia. Datasets for the emissions associated to the following processes have been established: Natural and semi-natural vegetation, windblown dust, volcanoes , biomass burning and forest fires, nitrogen oxides from soils (natural and agricultural), lightning, primary biological aerosol particles, coastal zones, seas  and lakes, sea salt, wild animals, anoxic soil processes (wetlands) and geological seepages.

As a result of the project, the methods for calculating of natural emissions have been improved. Natural and biogenic emissions have been calculated for the year 2000, 2010 and 2050. The emissions for the year 2010 have been approximated by emissions calculated for years 1997 and 2001, which were years with average meteorological behaviour in Europe. Emissions for the year 2050 have been approximated by emissions calculated for the very dry and warm year 2003, in western Europe. The meteorology in the year 2003 was assumed to have been influenced by climate change effects. The main results of the project are new and improved algorithms for generating biogenic and natural emission inventories for Europe, including QA/QC analysis of methodology, as well as datasets as input for atmospheric modelling for a base year (2000) and a baseline scenario for 2010.

Additionally, detailed concentration maps of CO, NH3, SOx, DMS, VOC, CH4, NOx and PM (primary and secondary aerosols) concentrations over Europe have been obtained for 2000. Moreover, scenarios for 2010 with and without natural emissions under consideration of the implementation of the EU air quality policy instruments and the baseline scenarios of the Clean Air for Europe process have been developed. All these results made possible have a deep discussion of the effect of climate change to the biogenic and natural emissions for Europe.

Project datasets are often requested by the research community, and can be provided upon request by contacting project coordinators. Thus, a 9 level in the TRL scale can be assigned. For instance, the data and results of the project have been used as input into the MEGAPOLI (FP7-ENV) and ENSEMBLES (FP6) projects.