Journal: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP), vol. 22, 7207–7257, 2022
The Eurodelta-Trends (EDT) multi-model experiment, aimed at assessing the efficiency of emission mitigation measures in improving air quality in Europe during 1990–2010, was designed to answer a series of questions regarding European pollution trends; i.e. were there significant trends detected by observations? Do the models manage to reproduce observed trends? How close is the agreement between the models and how large are the deviations from observations? In this paper, we address these issues with respect to particulate matter (PM) pollution. An in-depth trend analysis has been performed for PM10 and PM2.5 for the period of 2000–2010, based on results from six chemical transport models and observational data from the EMEP (Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe) monitoring network. Given harmonization of set-up and main input data, the differences in model results should mainly result from differences in the process formulations within the models themselves, and the spread in the model-simulated trends could be regarded as an indicator for modelling uncertainty.
The model ensemble simulations indicate overall decreasing trends in PM10 and PM2.5 from 2000 to 2010, with the total reductions of annual mean concentrations by between 2 and 5 (7 for PM10) µg m−3 (or between 10 % and 30 %) across most of Europe (by 0.5–2 µg m−3 in Fennoscandia, the north-west of Russia and eastern Europe) during the studied period. Compared to PM2.5, relative PM10 trends are weaker due to large inter-annual variability of natural coarse PM within the former. The changes in the concentrations of PM individual components are in general consistent with emission reductions. There is reasonable agreement in PM trends estimated by the individual models, with the inter-model variability below 30 %–40 % over most of Europe, increasing to 50 %–60 % in the northern and eastern parts of the EDT domain.
Averaged over measurement sites (26 for PM10 and 13 for PM2.5), the mean ensemble-simulated trends are −0.24 and −0.22 µg m−3 yr−1 for PM10 and PM2.5, which are somewhat weaker than the observed trends of −0.35 and −0.40 µg m−3 yr−1 respectively, partly due to model underestimation of PM concentrations. The correspondence is better in relative PM10 and PM2.5 trends, which are −1.7 % yr−1 and −2.0 % yr−1 from the model ensemble and −2.1 % yr−1 and −2.9 % yr−1 from the observations respectively. The observations identify significant trends (at the 95 % confidence level) for PM10 at 56 % of the sites and for PM2.5 at 36 % of the sites, which is somewhat less that the fractions of significant modelled trends. Further, we find somewhat smaller spatial variability of modelled PM trends with respect to the observed ones across Europe and also within individual countries.
The strongest decreasing PM trends and the largest number of sites with significant trends are found for the summer season, according to both the model ensemble and observations. The winter PM trends are very weak and mostly insignificant. Important reasons for that are the very modest reductions and even increases in the emissions of primary PM from residential heating in winter. It should be kept in mind that all findings regarding modelled versus observed PM trends are limited to the regions where the sites are located.
The analysis reveals considerable variability of the role of the individual aerosols in PM10 trends across European countries. The multi-model simulations, supported by available observations, point to decreases in concentrations playing an overall dominant role. Also, we see...