Special Issue on Carbonaceous Aerosols in the Atmosphere

Wenche Aas  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Hilde Fagerli2, Andres Alastuey3, Fabrizia Cavalli4, Anna Degorska5, Stefan Feigenspan6, Hans Brenna2, Jonas Gliß2, Daniel Heinesen2, Christoph Hueglin7, Adéla Holubová8, Jean-Luc Jaffrezo9, Augustin Mortier2, Marijana Murovec10, Jean-Philippe Putaud4, Julian Rüdige6, David Simpson2,11, Sverre Solberg1, Svetlana Tsyro2, Kjetil Tørseth1, Karl Espen Yttri1 

1 NILU, EMEP/CCC Kjeller, Norway
2 Norwegian Meteorological Institute, EMEP/MSC-W, Oslo, Norway
3 Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, Barcelona, Spain
4 European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Ispra (VA), Italy
5 Institute of Environmental Protection, National Research Institute, Warsaw, Poland
6 The Umweltbundesamt (UBA), Dessau-Roßlau, Germany
7 EMPA, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland
8 Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, Košetice, Czech Republic
9 Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement, Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, Grenoble INP, Grenoble, France
10 Slovenian Environment Agency, Ljubljana, Slovenia
11 Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

Received: October 1, 2023
Revised: February 2, 2024
Accepted: February 4, 2024

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.230237  

Cite this article:

Aas, W., Fagerli, H., Alastuey, A., Cavalli, F., Degorska, A., Feigenspan, S., Brenna, H., Gliß, J., Heinesen, D., Hueglin, C., Holubová, A., Jaffrezo, J.L., Mortier, A., Murovec, M., Putaud, J.P., Rüdige, J., Simpson, D., Solberg, S., Tsyro, S., Tørseth, K., Yttri, K.E. (2024). Trends in Air Pollution in Europe, 2000–2019. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.230237


  • Air pollution in Europe decreased over 2000–2019, driven by emission reductions.
  • Sulfur compounds declined 3–4% annually; oxidized nitrogen species reduced by 1.5–2%.
  • Reductions observed in the highest ozone concentration levels.
  • First comprehensive European trend study of carbonaceous aerosols.
  • A substantial 4.5% yearly decrease in elemental carbon.


This paper encompasses an assessment of air pollution trends in rural environments in Europe over the 2000–2019 period, benefiting from extensive long-term observational data from the EMEP monitoring network and EMEP MSC-W model computations. The trends in pollutant concentrations align with the decreasing emission patterns observed throughout Europe. Annual average concentrations of sulfur dioxide, particulate sulfate, and sulfur wet deposition have shown consistent declines of 3-4% annually since 2000. Similarly, oxidized nitrogen species have markedly decreased across Europe, with an annual reduction of 1.5-2% in nitrogen dioxide concentrations, total nitrate in the air, and oxidized nitrogen deposition. Notably, emission reductions and model predictions appear to slightly surpass the observed declines in sulfur and oxidized nitrogen, indicating a potential overestimation of reported emission reductions. Ammonia emissions have decreased less compared to other pollutants since 2000. Significant reductions in particulate ammonium have however, been achieved due to the impact of reductions in SOx and NOx emissions. For ground level ozone, both the observed and modelled peak levels in summer show declining trends, although the observed decline is smaller than modelled. There have been substantial annual reductions of 1.8% and 2.4% in the concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5, respectively. Elemental carbon has seen a reduction of approximately 4.5% per year since 2000. A similar reduction for organic carbon is only seen in winter when primary anthropogenic sources dominate. The observed improvements in European air quality emphasize the importance of comprehensive legislations to mitigate emissions.

Keywords: Transboundary, Air pollution, Compliance monitoring, Aerosols, Deposition

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