Kjeller, Norway
Kjeller, Norway
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News Article | May 19, 2017

The Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) and The Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) report here on the presence of contaminants in the pelagic food chains in the lakes Mjøsa, Randsfjorden and Femunden and in supplementary material of fish from Tyrifjorden and Vansjø, sampled in 2015. Mercury and persistent organic pollutants (cVMS, PCBs, PBDEs, PFAS) were analyzed in samples of fish from all lakes, as well as pelagic crustaceans in Mjøsa. Among the key findings are that the siloxanes D5 and D6 show trophic magnification in Mjøsa and Randsfjorden and that PFTrA is the dominating PFAS in liver samples of fish. This data from Norwegian monitoring programs make the basis for a suggested EU ban of certain chemicals in personal care products. The levels of environmental contaminants in the pelagic food webs of lake Mjøsa, Randsfjorden and lake Femunden have been mapped since 2013. In these three lakes, there is moderate, little and negligible environmental influence, respectively, of discharges from the local communities, agriculture and industry. The research is done by The Norwegian Institute of Water Research (NIVA) and The Norwegian Institute of Air Research (NILU) on behalf of The Norwegian Environment Agency and is part of the monitoring program "Environmental pollutants in large Norwegian lakes" ("Miljøgifter i store innsjøer"). The monitoring program was started in 2013, and runs for four years. The results from 2015 were in November 2016 published in a comprehensive report, in which supplementary material from fish from lake Tyri (Tyrifjorden) and lake Vansjø were also included. High levels of siloxanes in fish have been recorded in the "Environmental pollutants in large Norwegian lakes" program over several years. This year´s recordings revealed a slight decline compared to previous years, but the levels of siloxanes are still high. Siloxanes are used in large amounts in personal care products like shampoos and soaps. The siloxanes investigated in this program are D4 -- octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane, D5 -- decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, and D6 -- dodecamethylcyclohexasiloxane. These chemicals are used in products that most of us have in our homes. Only in Europe, it is estimated that 20 kilo tons of siloxanes are emitted into the environment every year. The information about siloxanes, and how the chemicals behave when they enter the environment, is still limited, but the knowledge we currently have is worrying. "Siloxanes are not acute toxic, considering the fact that it is something we apply directly on our skin. The problem is that these substances are only slowly degraded in the environment and their concentration build up in the foodweb," says Eirik Fjeld, senior research scientist at NIVA. A few years ago, it was discovered that D4 is toxic to several organisms, and it was replaced with D5 in various personal care products. Now it now turns out that D5 is also harmful. D5 is not regulated by international conventions today, and one reason is that there has not been evidence that the compound builds up (biomagnifies) in the food web -- until now. Data from NIVA´s investigations 2010-2013 are the first to indicate that D5 does biomagnify. The results are controversial, and have evoked debate in the academic communities. Due to NIVA´s findings, D4 and D5 are listed on The Norwegian Environmental Agency´s list of unwanted chemicals, and within 2020, the discharge of D5 will be reduced drastically or totally stopped in Norway. The EU is following, and a restriction of D4 and D5 under the REACH regulations is under consideration. Eating fish from Norwegian lakes poses no risk, says Fjeld, but he stresses that siloxanes are substances that are only slowly degraded, and that we do not fully understand the consequences of them yet. "The precautionary principle, which is used in environmental management, indicates that siloxanes are not something we should emit into nature in an uncontrolled manner," Fjeld says. The municipalities with shoreline to lake Mjøsa have now come together to work for a cleaner lake. On the 10th of November, 55 politicians and specialists gathered at the milk factory at Kapp at the initiative of the museum Mjøsmuseet. This can be the beginning of a new campaign; a new "Action for Mjøsa" (Mjøsaksjon). As part of the "Environmental pollutants in large Norwegian lakes" program, NIVA and NILU have also taken samples of 25 perch off Storøya in lake Tyrifjorden, Hole municipality. The levels of PFOS (perfluoroctanesulfonic acid, a fluorinated compound) in lake Tyrifjorden were comparable with perch in lake Vansjø in Østfold county. Lake Vansjø, which is the smallest lake of the two, has had substantial inflow of PFOS from the local airport Rygge, where PFOS was used in fire extinguisher foams. "PFOS is among the contaminants that we follow closely both nationally and internationally," says Fjeld. He informs that PFOS is now banned in Norway and Europe. "It is concerning that a lake as big as Tyrifjorden has such high concentrations of the substance," he says. The sources of PFOS in lake Tyrifjorden are still unknown. The County Governor (Fylkesmannen) and The Norwegian Environment Agency is now working on establishing a new monitoring program which can follow up the results from the current findings, and they hope this will help identifying the sources of the fluorinated compounds. While legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are declining, mercury shows an opposite trend; There are still high levels of mercury in several of the lakes included in the study. Lake trout from lake Randsfjorden and fish from lake Mjøsa holds the highest concentrations. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority gives dietary advice regarding consumption of fresh water fish. If a trout is bigger than 50 cm, it holds mercury concentrations that exceeds the recommendations of the EU and The Norwegian Food Safety Authority. It is estimated that more than half of the mercury found in air originate from old pollution that is evaporated from soil, water and sediments.

Diapouli E.,L.E.S.S. | Eleftheriadis K.,L.E.S.S. | Karanasiou A.A.,L.E.S.S. | Vratolis S.,L.E.S.S. | And 3 more authors.
Aerosol and Air Quality Research | Year: 2011

The scope of this work was to characterize PM mass and number concentration at typical residential microenvironments in the centre of Athens and to examine the relative contribution of the indoor and outdoor sources. Three residential flats located in densely populated residential areas were studied, during a warm and cold period of 2002. PM 10, PM 2 and black carbon (BC) mass concentrations, as well as ultrafine and accumulation mode particle number size distributions were recorded indoors and outdoors simultaneously. Outdoor concentrations of all size fractions were significant, and indicative of urban sites affected by heavy traffic. Indoor levels were generally lower than the corresponding outdoor ones. Nevertheless, elevated indoor concentrations were recorded, caused by increased ambient air penetration in the indoor microenvironments and/or indoor particle generation. The mean 24-hr indoor PM 10 concentration at all residences was 35.0 ± 10.7 μg/m 3 during the warm period and 31.8 ± 7.8 μg/m 3 during the cold period. The corresponding PM 2 concentration was 30.1 ± 11.1 μg/m 3 and 27.2 ± 3.6 μg/m 3 during warm and cold periods, respectively. Regression analysis of indoor and outdoor concentration data revealed that indoor BC may be considered mainly of outdoor origin. A large fraction of the outdoor-generated PM 2 and ultrafine and accumulation mode particles also seems to penetrate indoors, causing elevated indoor levels. Regarding indoor particle generation, cooking was the strongest contributor in residential microenvironments. © Taiwan Association for Aerosol Research.

de Koeijer G.,Statoil | Talstad V.R.,Statoil | Nepstad S.,Statoil | Tonnessen D.,NILU | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control | Year: 2013

A health risk analysis for the emissions to air from TCM's amine unit has been executed."The highest risk was assessed to be the exposure of the population to nitrosamines and nitramines."TCM's conclusion was that the risk was acceptable."The Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency granted TCM a permit in November 2011. A health risk analysis for the emissions to air from the CO2 Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM) has been executed. TCM is the world's largest facility for testing and improving technologies for CO2 capture, and is located at the West coast of Norway. The risk analysis was an important fundament for the application for an emission permit for the amine based post-combustion CO2 capture unit. The highest risk was assessed to be the exposure of the population to uncertain concentrations of nitrosamines and nitramines in air and drinking water. Nitrosamines and nitramines are groups of possible degradation products formed from amines. The components within these two groups have variable degrees of carcinogenicity. Nitrosamines are formed from amines in the CO2 capture process and in the atmosphere, while nitramines are assumed to form only in the atmosphere. The risk was analyzed by comparing the sum of concentrations of nitrosamines and nitramines in air and fresh water with recently available guidelines. The concentrations were obtained by modelling atmospheric chemistry, dispersion, deposition by precipitation and degradation in fresh water with novel methods that were developed during the application process. Moreover, the nitrosamine and nitramine concentrations were measured in air and fresh water lakes prior to start-up as a baseline. TCM's conclusion was that the risk was acceptable. The Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency granted TCM a permit in November 2011. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Paris J.-D.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Ciais P.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Nedelec P.,CNRS Laboratory for Aerology | Stohl A.,NILU | And 5 more authors.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society | Year: 2010

Data from five Airborne Extensive Regional Observations in Siberia (YAK-AEROSIB) transcontinental campaigns, performed as a part of a joint French-Russian research program, provide new insights on the chemical composition of the Siberian air shed. The campaign, conducted on April, July, August, and September 2006, used an Antonov-30 Yak-Aerosib research aircraft equipped with new high-precision CO2, CO, and O3 instruments, and collected 50 in situ vertical profiles during the campaign. The results show that August mark the termination of the CO2 uptake period over Siberia, with flux tower data consistently indicating a switch in CO2 exchange by regional ecosystems from a sink to source. Higher surface biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOC) emissions contribute to higher O3 production in summer. The September campaign showed a median CO concentration of 108 ppb and, 105 ppb in August 2007, and 102 ppb in July 2007.

News Article | March 4, 2016

The new tool, called NEAT — Nested Environmental status Assessment Tool — is designed to support the assessment of marine areas by the environmental authorities of EU Member States, and also by the Regional Seas Conventions and for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. It integrates a previously released tool that includes over 500 indicators used or being developed by European Member States and can be used for all types of environmental assessment. "NEAT allows us to assess the environmental status of European seas in an integrative way," says Dr. Borja of AZTI in Spain, an expert on marine biodiversity and coordinator of the European research project DEVOTES. "This is the result of collaborative effort of 23 partners, distributed across 14 countries, after four years of research in the Baltic, Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Seas" says Borja. "Our research is important for improving the understanding of the effects of human activities on marine biodiversity, as well as variations due to climate change." "Marine health assessments are complex," says Borja, "but this tool makes the task much easier." According to Torsten Berg from MariLim in Germany, who is one of the authors of the software, "some of these tools can be difficult to use, so we worked hard to make a user-friendly interface." Using NEAT is simple, users first select the regional sea in which thee want to assess the status, and then choose the appropriate indicators, habitats and ecosystem components for a specific area within the regional sea. "NEAT determines the uncertainty of indicator values, so you can evaluate the confidence of your assessment. The more indicators and data you use, the better the assessment will be," highlights Jacob Carstensen from Aarhus University, an environmental statistician who worked on the development of the tool. But the very best of NEAT is its flexibility, "users can customize each step of the assessment, and the assessment better reflects the reality of the area," adds Jesper Andersen, from NIVA Denmark Water Research, who is one of the designers of the idea, "NEAT is so versatile that it can also be used for other types of environmental assessment, not just marine biodiversity." So, it could also be used by firms and consultancies that carry out all types of environmental assessment. NEAT and its guidelines are freely available from the DEVOTES Web site: In the coming months, NEAT will be enhanced with even more features and possibilities to perform a tailor-made biodiversity assessment. Updates will be released regularly. Project members are now disseminating the tool and organizing training workshops in member states and for regional seas conventions. "We have already demonstrated the tool to authorities in Portugal and Spain," says Alice Newton, from NILU in Norway and the University of Algarve in Portugal, "and it has been well-received by the Regional Seas Conventions." The DEVOTES project will be featured by the Euronews TV channel in June 2016 and will hold a conference in Brussels in October for key stakeholders and leading scientists. The theme of the conference is "Marine Biodiversity, the key to healthy and productive seas." Explore further: Clean seas by 2020: Scientists identify main environmental 'stressors' in the Mediterranean and Black Seas

Burton M.R.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology | Prata F.,NILU | Platt U.,University of Heidelberg
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research | Year: 2015

Ground-based volcanic gas and ash imaging has the potential to revolutionise the way in which volcanoes are monitored and studied. The ability to track and quantify volcanic emissions in space and time with unprecedented fidelity opens the door to integration with geophysical measurements, allowing breakthroughs in our understanding of the physical processes driving volcanic activity. In May 2013 a European Science Foundation funded Plume Imaging workshop was conducted in Stromboli, Italy, with the objective of bringing the ground-based volcanic plume imaging community together in order to examine the state of the art, and move towards a 'best-practice' for volcanic ash and gas imaging techniques. A particular focus was the development of SO2 imaging systems, or SO2 cameras, with six teams deploying and testing various designs of ultraviolet and infrared-based imaging systems capable of imagining SO2. One conclusion of the workshop was that the term 'SO2 camera' should be applied to any SO2 imaging system, regardless of wavelength of radiation used.This Special Issue on Volcanic Plume Imaging is the direct result of the Stromboli workshop, and together the papers presented here represent the state of the art of ground-based volcano plume imaging science and technology. In this work, we examine in detail the volcanological applications of the SO2 camera, reviewing previous works and placing the new research contained in this Special Issue in context. The development of the SO2 camera, and future developments extending imaging to other volcanic gases, is one of the most exciting and novel research frontiers in volcanology today. © 2014.

Sodemann H.,NILU | Sodemann H.,ETH Zurich | Stohl A.,NILU
Monthly Weather Review | Year: 2013

During December 2006 many cyclones traveled across the North Atlantic, causing temperature and precipitation in Norway to be well above average. Large excursions of high vertically integrated water vapor, often referred to as atmospheric rivers, reached from the subtropics to high latitudes, inducing precipitation over western Scandinavia. The sources and transport of atmospheric water vapor in the North Atlantic storm track during that month are examined by means of a mesoscale model fitted with water vapor tracers. Decomposition of the modeled total water vapor field into numerical water vapor tracers tagged by evaporation latitude shows that when an atmospheric river was present, a higher fraction of water vapor from remote, southerly source regions caused more intense precipitation. The tracer transport analysis revealed that the atmospheric rivers were composed of a sequence of meridional excursions of water vapor, in close correspondence with the upper-level flow configuration. In cyclone cores, fast turnover of water vapor by evaporation and condensation were identified, leading to a rapid assimilation of water from the underlying ocean surface. In the regions of long-range transport,water vapor tracers fromthe southernmidlatitudes and subtropics dominated over local contributions. By advection of water vapor along their trailing cold fronts cyclones were reinforcing the atmospheric rivers. At the same time the warm conveyor belt circulation was feeding off the atmospheric rivers by large-scale ascent and precipitation. Pronounced atmospheric rivers could persist in the domain throughout more than one cyclone's life cycle. These findings emphasize the interrelation between midlatitude cyclones and atmospheric rivers but also their distinction from the warm conveyor belt airstream © 2013 American Meteorological Society.

Castell N.,NILU | Kobernus M.,NILU | Liu H.-Y.,NILU | Schneider P.,NILU | And 3 more authors.
Urban Climate | Year: 2015

The impact of mobile technologies on the Citizens' Observatory in the areas of air quality, environmental health and climate change, has the potential to significantly improve data coverage by the provision of near-real-time high-resolution data over urban areas. The Citi-Sense-MOB Citizens' Observatory will be part of an environmental health monitoring system and environmental health knowledge base, created from information provided by GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) signals such as GPS (Global Positioning System) and Citizens' Observatory data. The main objective of Citi-Sense-MOB is to support green growth and sustainable development in Oslo, Norway, by providing citizens and authorities with information on transport, CO2 emissions and air quality. This paper presents the approach used to develop the information value chain necessary to the success of Citi-Sense-MOB, from the sensor platform and architecture to the products and services supporting participatory governance through the Citizens' Observatory concept. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Lahoz W.A.,NILU | Lahoz W.A.,Meteo - France | De Lannoy G.J.M.,NASA
Surveys in Geophysics | Year: 2014

This paper reviews the conceptual problems limiting our current knowledge of the hydrological cycle over land. We start from the premise that to understand the hydrological cycle we need to make observations and develop dynamic models that encapsulate our understanding. Yet, neither the observations nor the models could give a complete picture of the hydrological cycle. Data assimilation combines observational and model information and adds value to both the model and the observations, yielding increasingly consistent and complete estimates of hydrological components. In this review paper we provide a historical perspective of conceptual problems and discuss state-of-the-art hydrological observing, modelling and data assimilation systems. © 2013 The Author(s).

Thomas H.E.,Michigan Technological University | Watson I.M.,Michigan Technological University | Watson I.M.,University of Bristol | Carn S.A.,Michigan Technological University | And 2 more authors.
Geomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk | Year: 2011

Volcanic degassing is a major contributor to the global sulphur dioxide (SO 2) budget, characterized by quiescent emissions in the lower troposphere with sporadic, spatially variable explosive eruptions into the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS). The volcanic input of SO 2 to the atmosphere can be quantified using a suite of satellite-based instruments with a range of orbits and resolutions, resulting in differing estimates of SO 2 extent and concentration from eruptions. We compare near-coincident retrievals of SO 2 from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), Atmospheric Infrared Radiation Sounder (AIRS) and OzoneMonitoring Instrument (OMI) at four eruptive settings. The OMI instrument is the most sensitive, with the ability to detect both low and high altitude clouds, but as an ultraviolet sensor, retrievals are limited to daytime, unlike the infrared sensors. AIRS retrievals are up to an order of magnitude less sensitive than OMI, restricted to water-free clouds in the upper troposphere. MODIS has the lowest sensitivity and is therefore constrained to the largest eruptions. Total tonnages from each sensor reflect these varying sensitivities along with potential calibration discrepancies. Results suggest that by using a number of instruments in synergy a more complete method of eruption detection is achieved. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.

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