Meteorological Synthesizing Centre - East (MSC-E)

is one of the international research Centres of the EMEP programme operating under the LRTAP Convention of UNECE.

The Centre focuses its efforts on model assessment of the environment pollution with various toxic substances.

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Cooperation with countries (Case Study)


MSC-E co-operates with Parties to the Convention in the framework of heavy metal pollution assessment on a country scale. This year a case study for Poland has been completed. The analysis of heavy metal pollution of the country includes model assessment of Cd air concentration and deposition levels with fine spatial resolution, evaluation of national anthropogenic emissions, source apportionment of Cd deposition to various provinces of the country including contribution of different emission sectors. A special attention is paid to assessment of Cd pollution of cities.




Spain and France

MSC-E participated in country-specific case study of B(a)P pollution in the EMEP countries in close cooperation with national experts. Evaluation of B(a)P pollution levels in Spain is continued. Besides, similar work is initiated for France. Current stage of the study is mainly focused on the analysis of discrepancies between B(a)P modelling results and observed pollution levels taking place for Spain and France as well as for some other EMEP countries. This activity includes construction of experimental emission scenarios. Besides, a number of model simulations were carried out in order to evaluate sensitivity of the model predictions to possible uncertainties in the officially reported emission data. Particular attention is also paid to possible uncertainties of the modelling approach for B(a)P.


Contribution to UNEP Global Mercury Assessment

MSC-E continues cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment). A new Global Mercury Assessment 2018 is now under development in accordance with the request of the UN Environment Governing Council (Decision 27/12). MSC-E takes part in the assessment coordinating work of an international group of experts focused on modelling of mercury pollution on global and regional scales.

Contribution to Minamata Convention

MSC-E/INM Technical Report 4/2006
"Assessment of lead pollution levels in Belarus with fine spatial resolution (EMEP case study)"

Country-specific case study on assessment of lead pollution levels in Belarus in 2012 is completed. This work was carried out in close cooperation with national experts form Institute of Natural Management of National Academy of Science of Belarus (INM). The experts from Belarus submitted a set of necessary input data for the work, including national emissions with fine spatial resolution (10x10 km2) and splitting to source categories, measured concentrations of lead in air at background station ‘Berezinskiy Reserve’ and at urban stations in Belarusian cities, and concentrations of lead in soils. The results were jointly analyzed by experts from Belarus and MSC-E.

Emission of lead (kg/km2/y) in 2012 in modelling domain including Belarus and surrounding areas (left) and location of monitoring stations (Pb in air) in the selected domain (right)

Spatial distribution of concentrations in air demonstrated gradient from the western and the south-western parts to the north-eastern part of the country. Deposition fluxes were distributed non-uniformly across the country. Higher deposition levels were noted for the south-western part of the country because of distribution of national emissions and atmospheric precipitation.


Annual mean concentrations in air (left) and total annual deposition (right) of lead with resolution 10x10 km2. Circles in map (a) mean observed air concentrations at monitoring stations

Contributions of three types of emission sources were assessed, namely anthropogenic sources, secondary sources within the EMEP region and sources located outside the EMEP domain (non-EMEP sources). The contribution of anthropogenic sources to total deposition to Belarus was 34%, secondary sources – 60% and non-EMEP sources – 6%. Regional-mean contribution of secondary sources to deposition ranged from 47% in the Brest region to 65% in the Mogilev region. The highest contribution of anthropogenic sources, both in relative and in absolute terms, was noted for the western part of Belarus making around 50% in the Brest and Grodno regions.


Deposition fluxes of lead to Belarusian regions in 2012 (left) and map of administrative regions of Belarus (right)

Contribution from foreign emission sources to anthropogenic deposition in Belarus made up 94%, and that from national sources – 6%. The main contributor to anthropogenic deposition to Belarus was Poland (52%), followed by Ukraine (11%) and Germany (3%). However, these contributions varied significantly across the country’s territory.


Contribution of national and foreign sources to anthropogenic deposition in Belarus (left) and spatial distribution of contribution of foreign sources to anthropogenic deposition in Belarus (right) in 2012

The highest contribution to deposition in Belarus from national sources came from emission source category ‘Iron and Steel Production’ (46%), followed by ‘Combustion in industries’ (21%),  ‘Electricity and Heat’ (15%) and ‘Other Chemical Industry’ (8%). However, the regional differences in contributions were substantial. The largest contribution of ‘Iron and Steel Production’ was noted for the Homel region (71%). ‘Combustion in Industries’ group was the main pollution source in the Grodno region (53%). The highest contribution of ‘Electricity and Heat’ and ‘Other Chemical Industry’ took place in the Vitebsk region (30% and 21%, respectively).

Spatial distribution of lead deposition from national sources and contributions of national emission source categories to anthropogenic deposition from national emissions in administrative regions of Belarus in 2012

Contribution to deposition of lead in Belarusian cities was distinguished between secondary and anthropogenic sources. Anthropogenic sources were considered as a sum of ‘external’ and ‘city’ sources. The main contributor to city pollution were secondary sources which contribution varied from around 40% to 65%. Among anthropogenic sources the major contribution to pollution in the cities was made by ‘external’ sources (75-96%), while the role of ‘city’ sources was comparatively low (4 – 25%).     


Deposition of lead in Belarusian capital cities in 2012 from different sources (left) and relative contribution of city, foreign and national external sources to anthropogenic deposition (right)

The comparison of modelled and observed air concentrations at the national background monitoring station ‘Berezinskiy reserve’ demonstrated that the observed levels were underestimated by the model. Possible reasons contributing to this discrepancy included uncertainties of the model, underestimation of the emission data and uncertainties of measurement data. For the analysis of heavy metal emission data in the EECCA counties joint efforts of national emission experts of these countries together with CEIP and TFEIP are required. Besides, in order to improve quality of measurements in the EECCA region, participation of national laboratories in the regular intercomparisons under the CCC supervision is appreciated. Finally, additional direction of the research could be focused on investigation of other pollutants in Belarus. It could help to understand if the considered situation is unique for lead or it is typical for other pollutants, for example, particulate matter or acidifying compounds

Croatia (Case study)

Calculations of lead pollution levels for Croatia was carried out with resolution 50x50 km on the base of the official EMEP emission data and with resolution 10x10 km using emissions submitted by national experts. To perform modelling with high resolution emissions from neighbouring countries were re-gridded from 50-km grid to 10-km gridcells.


Emissions of lead in Croatia in 2007 officially submitted with 50-km resolution (left) and prepared in the framework of the Case Study with 10-km resolution (right). Location of measurement stations is indicated by blue stars (Croatia) and white triangles (EMEP)

Model simulations of lead pollution levels were carried out with resolutions 50x50 and 10x10 km. Maps with 10-km resolution were more detailed compared to those with 50-km resolution

Calculated concentrations of Pb in air (top row) and total deposition (bottom row) in Croatia in 2007 with resolution 50x50 km (left column) and 10x10 km (right column) resolution

Monitoring data on concentrations in air is provided for three Croatian stations: Zagreb, Sisak and Rijeka. Since these stations are urban, the measurements at these stations should be used in the pollution level analysis with some caution because they could be not representative even for modelling with 10-km resolution. To overcome this difficulty the data from EMEP stations (Ilmitz in Austria and Iskbra in Slovenia) located in the modelling domain were also involved. Changes of resolution from 50x50 km to 10x10 km resulted in improvements at some stations (Rijeka, Ilmitz, Sisak), but increased discrepancies between modelled and measured values at other sites (Zagreb, Iskbra).

One of factors responsible for Pb levels in air is wind re-suspension of lead which had been accumulated in top soils for decades. On annual level the contribution of wind re-suspension to calculated concentrations in air was significant. It varied from 40% to almost 90%. Modification of parameterization of this process is now ongoing. More details are available in EMEP status reports and MSC-E technical reports.


Modelled and measured concentrations of Pb  
in air for Croatian measurement stations
and EMEP background stations

Observed and modelled (10x10km) annual
mean concentrations of lead in air in 2007


Detailed assessment of heavy metal and POP pollution in the EMEP countries, PART II: Poland
Joint MSC-E & IER-NRI & EGAR & CHMI Technical Report 5/2018

Assessment of cadmium atmospheric pollution levels in Poland in 2014 has been completed. The work has been carried out in close cooperation with national experts. The assessment includes analysis of national emission and monitoring data, model-based source apportionment in particular Polish voivodships and pollution in the selected cities. Modelling was carried out with spatial resolution 0.1°x0.1° using the latest verion of GLEMOS model.
Modeling results based on official and national emission data were compared with concentrations in air observed at EMEP and Polish stations. In was found that the model tended to underestimate the observed levels in cold period.  Analysis of factors responsible for seasonal changes of pollution levels led to conclusion that the identified discrepancies were linked with possible underestimation of cadmium emission from sector ‘Residential Combustion’.
In order to improve the model performance and to provide the national experts with the results which better agree with measurement values emission scenario has been developed. The suggested emission scenario assumes higher emissions in the southern and south-western part of Poland in cold period.

Original (left) and scenario (right) emissions of cadmium in 2014 in the modelling domain

Compared to national total value of the emission provided by national experts, annual scenario emission in Poland is 26% higher. This value is smaller than the uncertainty of annual national emissions estimated by national experts.  


Monthly sums of national emissions in Poland (left) and changes in average emission fluxes in voivodships (right) prescribed by emission scenario

The usage of higher emissions from residential combustion sector resulted in the improvement of agreement between modelled and observed concentrations in air in cold period. For the warm period the differences are negligible because the scenario assumes the increase of emissions only in cold period.

Examples of monthly mean modelled (original and corrected) and observed concentrations in air at national station PL0505 (left) and EMEP station CZ1 (right)

Scenario emission values were used for calculation of country-specific information on cadmium pollution in Poland. Deposition from anthropogenic sources are caused by national (Polish) emission sources and by transboundary transport of cadmium emitted to the atmosphere by foreign sources. For the country as a whole around 21% of anthropogenic deposition comes from foreign sources while national sources are responsible for other 79%. Contribution of foreign sources to anthropogenic deposition in the south-western part of the country is the lowest varying from 10 to 20%, and in some parts of these voivodships is even below 10%. In the central part of Poland the contribution of foreign sources ranges from 10% to 30%. In the regions near the state borders the contribution exceeds 50%.

Contribution of national and foreign sources to deposition from anthropogenic sources in Poland (left) and spatial distributions of contribution of foreign sources (right) to anthropogenic deposition in Poland in 2014 with resolution 0.1°x0.1°  

The main emission source categories in Poland include ‘A_PublicPower’, ‘B_Industry’, ’C_OtherStationaryComb’ (residential Combustion), ’D_Fugitive’ and ‘F_RoadTransport’. Model calculations were done for these five sectors, and emissions from the remaining categories were grouped into ‘Remaining sectors’. Contributions of these sectors as well as foreign sources to anthropogenic deposition in Poland were calculated for a country as a whole and for its particular voivodships. The main contributors to cadmium deposition are sectors Industry and Residential Combustion.

Spatial distribution of cadmium deposition from anthropogenic sources and contributions of main national emission sectors and foreign sources to deposition in Polish voivodships in 2014

Special attention was paid to evaluation of pollution in cities of Poland. Although the model has not been designed to simulate urban-scale pollution levels, the calculated annual mean concentrations agree with the observed values for most of the selected Polish cities. Spatial correlation coefficient is 0.71 and relative bias is -8%.

Annual mean modelled and observed concentrations of cadmium at urban background stations in selected Polish cities depicted as bar charts for particular stations

Seasonal variability of the observed concentrations was also reproduced by the model. Correlation coefficient between averaged over stations values is 0.95. For most of stations the correlation between modelled and observed monthly mean values is higher than 0.6.

Averaged over stations monthly mean modelled and observed concentrations. Range of concentration values within limits 10th – 90th percentiles is denoted by blue area for observed and by whiskers for modelled values.

Concentrations of cadmium in air in Polish cities are presented as a sum of two components. The first one comes from anthropogenic sources outside city area (external) and the second is produced by city sources (urban increment). In large cities such as Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk, Katowice, Poznan city sources contribute significant (20 – 70%) faction to anthropogenic concentrations. In other considered cities the fraction of city sources is relatively small making up from 1-2% to about 10-15%.  

Calculated concentrations of cadmium in air caused by anthropogenic sources outside city (external) and by city sources (urban increment).  

Calculated seasonal changes of urban increment were compared with those based on observations in cities located in the north-western part of Poland. In a number of Polish cities seasonal changes were captured by the model. Both modelled and observed values of the urban increment exhibited higher levels in cold season and lower values in warm season.  At the same time, the model failed to reproduce the measurement-based increment at some other cities, which was connected with underestimation of Cd emissions from the ‘Residential combustion’ sector.

Seasonal changes of calculated normalized cadmium urban increments reproduced (left) and missed (right) by the model in comparison with the increments derived from measurements


The study demonstrated that the model can be used as a tool for evaluation of national emissions. Using modelling and observed information it is possible to identify regions where emission may need further improvement. However, this activity requires close cooperation with national experts and relevant EMEP centres and Task Forces.

Available official or national emission data contain uncertainties which affect results of assessment of pollution levels. The usage of emission scenarios or expert (non-official) emission estimates can produce more realistic, from viewpoint of comparison with the observed values, alternative results of pollution levels assessment. These alternative results could be presented along with the results based on official emission data.


MSC-E cooperation with Subsidiary Bodies of the Convention and International organizations

Co-operation is an important component of research and operational pollution assessment performed by MSC-E to support countries with information on POP pollution levels in Europe and other regions. In this context MSC-E closely collaborates with Parties to the Convention and its Subsidiary Bodies and exchanges information with various international organizations.


Heavy metals ...

Persistent organic pollutants ...

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