RI-URBANS kick-off-meeting – at start of Reinforcing the Air Quality Monitoring Capacities in European Urban and Industrial Areas

The kick-off-meeting of the Horizon-2020 project “Research Infrastructures Services Reinforcing Air quality Monitoring Capacities in European Urban & Industrial AreaS (RI-URBANS, 2021-2025)” took place online on 5-6 October 2021 with more than 90 participants from 28 Partners (Universities and research organizations) from Spain, Finland, France Italy, The Netherlands, UK, Greece, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Romania, Poland, and Russia.

The project has been introduced by the coordinators Xavier Querol (Spanish National Research Council Spain, CSIC) 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).

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, UFP and volatile organic compounds; off- and online source apportionment of UFP and particulate matter, PM; and profiling observations). The health effect assessment of PM and its components, nanoparticles, and their source contributions (urban mapping of air pollutants and UFP and citizen involvement; PM and UFP health effects, PM components and  source contributions; oxidative potential of urban PM and its components) is also crucial part of the project. The project will also focus on improving regional/urban modelling and emission inventories for policy assessment (urban scale emission inventories; urban/regional modelling; regional mapping of urban AQ for health effects; characterization of urban dispersion with advanced observations and modelling).

The RI-URBANS Pilot Studies will implement, test and demonstrate services in selected European cities. These pilot studies include: (i) near-real-time (NRT) aerosol source apportionment for online PM and black carbon measurements in urban environments; (ii) NRT data provision of nanoparticles and their size distributions; (iii) urban mapping of nanoparticles and other pollutants, coupled with regional modelling tools and citizen‘s science; (iv) health effects of novel air quality metrics and their source contributions, including PM components and nanoparticles; and (v) nanoparticle contributions in/from urban hot-spots (roadsides, airports, industry, harbours).

Moreover, RI-URBANS will upscale service tools (by developing strategy for upscaling; operational patterns and needs of urban research infrastructures and relationship with ACTRIS; data curation and management); 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 about monitoring/modelling gas-aerosol atmospheric composition for air quality control and evaluation of impact on public health in the St. Petersburg megapolis. Finally, schedule for meetings within the project was arranged, and nearest plans for deliverables and milestones were outlined.

Text by Xavier Querol, CSIC; Tuukka Petäjä, UHEL; Alexander Mahura, UHEL

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