Series: EMEP/CCC-Report 4/2020
This report presents VOC (volatile organic compound) measurements carried out during 2018 at EMEP monitoring sites. In total, 20 sites reported VOC-data from EMEP VOC sites this year. Some of the data-sets are considered preliminary and are not included in the report.
The monitoring of NMHC (non-methane hydrocarbons) has become more diverse with time in terms of instrumentation. Starting in the early 1990s with standardized methods based on manual sampling in steel canisters with subsequent analyses at the lab, the methods now consist of a variety of instruments and measurement principles, including automated continuous monitors and manual flask samples. For oxygenated VOCs (OVOCs), sampling in DNPH-tubes with subsequent lab-analyses is still the only method in use at EMEP sites.
Within the EU infrastructure project ACTRIS-2, data quality issues related to measurements of VOC have been an important topic. Many of the institutions providing VOC-data to EMEP have participated in the ACTRIS-2 project, either as formal partners or on a voluntary basis. Participation in ACTRIS-2 has meant an extensive effort with data-checking including detailed discussions between the ACTRIS community and individual participants. There is no doubt that this extensive effort has benefited the EMEP-program and has led to improved data quality in general.
Comparison between median levels in 2018 and the medians of the previous 10-years period, revealed a similar north-to-south pattern for several species.
Changes in instrumentation, procedures, station network etc. during the last two decades make it difficult to provide a rigorous and pan-European assessment of long-term trends of the observed VOCs. In this report, we have estimated the long-term trends in NMHC over the 2000-2018 period at six sites by two independent statistical methods. These estimates indicate marked differences in the trends for the individual species. Small or non-significant trends were found for ethane over this period followed by propane which also showed fairly small reductions. On the other hand, components linked to road traffic (ethene, ethyne and benzene) showed the strongest drop in mean concentrations, up to 60-80% at some stations.
The persistent heatwave in summer 2018 in northern and central Europe lead to higher isoprene-levels than normal. The data indicate a clear relationship between isoprene and afternoon temperature at the sites. An exponential fit is seen to be well suited for the relationship between isoprene and temperature.