Metrology for light absorption by atmospheric aerosols

Short Name: Black Carbon, Project Number: 16ENV02
Burning Fire

Harmonised measurements of black carbon will help refine climate models and mitigation proposals


Black carbon, emitted from sources such as diesel engines and wood burning, is a major contributor to climate change, second only in importance to carbon dioxide, and a primary component and key indicator of particulate matter, known to cause hundreds of thousands of premature deaths across Europe each year. However, the different instruments currently in use for measuring the amount of black carbon in the atmosphere give results that differ by up to 30 % and there is no way to link measurements to the SI.

This project will put traceability and calibration mechanisms in place for black carbon measurements for the first time, improving their accuracy and comparability. The improved measurements resulting from this work will be used to refine climate change models and mitigation proposals, and improve the quality of conclusions from population studies investigating the health effects of air pollution.

Project website
Other Participants
Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (Switzerland)
Leibniz Institut fuer Troposphaerenforschung e.V. (Germany)
National Center for Scientific Research "Demokritos" (Greece)
Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland)