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Monitoring Network of the Alpine Region for POPs and other Organic Pollutants. Stresa, June 2006. Project Team. Germany. Austria. Switzerland. Slovenia. Italy. Project Team (incl. subcontractors). Austrian Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics

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Monitoring Network of the Alpine Region for POPs and other Organic Pollutants

Stresa, June 2006

project team
Project Team






project team incl subcontractors
Project Team (incl. subcontractors)
  • Austrian Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics
  • Austrian Federal Environment Agency – Project Management
  • Austrian Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Resources - Leadpartner
  • Bavarian State Ministry for Environment, Health and Consumer Protection
  • German Federal Environmental Agency
  • GSF - National Research Center for Environment and Health
  • INCA Laboratory, Veneto
  • Institute of Organic Analytical Chemistry, Univ. Basel
  • Regional Agency for Environmental Protection of Lombardia
  • Regional Agency for Environmental Prevention and Protection of Veneto
  • Slovenian Forestry Institute
  • Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape
  • Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research

The Reasons why

  • To gain information on the pollution load in the Alps
  • carry out steps of awareness raising, information and implementation
  • to protect the rich natural heritage in the Alps

as a clean and healthy environment.


The Reasons why: POPs

are a heterogeneous group of biologically harmful compounds

are toxic to organisms including humans

They degrade slowly and accumulate in organic matter and in organisms.

  • Some POPs are commercially produced, others are undesired by-products of industry, transport or domestic needs.

The Reasons why: POPs

MONARPOP includes all compounds which are listed and laid-down in the UNEP Stockholm Convention on POPs and in the UN-ECE Protocol on POPs.

MONARPOP focuses as well on possible new POPs and upcoming pollutants.

The screening includes PCB, polybrominated biphenylethers (PBDE used as flame retardents), combustion products (dioxins and furans,PAH) and various Organochlorine pesticides (OCP), Short chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCP), selected chlorinated hydrocarbons

Additional selected samples: perfluorinated compounds (PFOS), and Nonylphenol


The Reasons why

Alpine regions have unfavourable conditions with regard to the POP input:

  • Barrier effects for long-range transported air masses
  • Higher precipitation at higher altitudes  more deposition
  • Higher wind velocities at higher altitudes  more deposition
  • Lower temperatures at higher altitudes  cold condensation, less volatilisation and less degradation of POPs

Starting point

  • Information on the load of alpine regions with POPs are scarce
  • First results reveal that alpine regions might be an important sink for POPs
  • Higher located areas seem to have higher concentrations of POPs
  • Unfavourable conditions of alpine regions with regard to the input of POPs
  • Requirements of the UN-ECE POPs-Protocol (1998) and the UNEP Stockholm Convention on POPs (2001) for monitoring and research
  • MONARPOP project

The Project Design

MONARPOP goals are:

  • Identifying the long-range transport and the load with POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) and other organic compounds in remote alpine regions.
  • Identifying regional differences and altitudinal effects on the load with POPs and other organic compounds.
  • Establishing mass inventories of POPs bound in forests in the alpine region (soil and needles).
  • Finding indications for sources of the POPs detected in alpine regions.

The Project Design

MONARPOP goals are:

  • Investigating possible effects and biological impacts of the detected loads (bioassay tests, analysis of enzyme activities).
  • To provide information to the decision makers and to establish a monitoring tool which will allow by future reassessments to control the success of the POP convention
the project design
The Project Design

Sampling Sites:

Geographical and altitude distribution

m a.s.l




the project design1

Air and deposition sampling

semipermeable membranes

1/2-year old needles, humus layer

mineral soil 0-10 cm

The Project Design

Altitude profiles:




the project design2
The Project Design

Why forests?

  • Main terrestrial sink for such compounds
  • Prevailing ecosystem type in the alpine region
  • Rich in species and a lot of important functions (e.g. drinking water supply, recreative features, protection from avalanches, mudflows)
  • No disturbance by soil tilling or pesticides; biomass harvesting is rare. Therefore, detected loads origin only from atmospheric inputs.
sampling of terrestrial matrices
Sampling of Terrestrial Matrices

Humus/soil and needle sampling:

sampling of airborne pollutants
Sampling of Airborne Pollutants

Air samplers are installed at three meteorological stations:


Sonnblick 3106m


Zugspitze 2650m

SwitzerlandWeißfluhjoch 2663m

sampling of airborne pollutants1
Sampling of Airborne Pollutants

Active Sampling:

4 filters at each sampler are used to distinguish between pollutant imports from different regions.

The Austrian Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics determines the travel routes (trajectories) of the incoming air masses.

Filter 1 – Air masses from Northwest and West:

 Examples for source regions: Great Britain, Germany

Filter 2 – Air masses from Northeast:

  Examples for source regions: Czech Republic, Poland, Baltic region

Filter 3 – Air masses from Southwest, South and Southeast:

  Examples for source regions: Africa, Spain, Italy, Adria

Filter 4 – Air masses from Cleanair regions:

  Examples for source regions: Atlantic sea, Polar regions

sampling of ambient air
Sampling of Ambient Air

Sampling equipment

developed by

Austrian Federal Environment AgencyandGerman GSF National Research Center for Environment and Health

in cooperation with the manufacturers

Dioxin Monitoring Systems, DIGITEL enviro-senseand Kroneis


Sampling of Ambient Air

The Low Volume sampler


Sampling of Ambient Air

The High Volume sampler


Sampling of Bulk Deposition

Deposition sampler


SPMD Samplers

SPMD in meteorological cabins


non-volatile longchain chlorinated paraffins


First outcomes and results are expected in 2006

One example: First detection of chlorinated paraffins in needles (Iozza et al., Institute of Organic Analytical Chemistry, Univ. Basel)


MONARPOP is funded by the EU-Interreg-IIIb “Alpine Space Programme” and by national funds from several project partners

I would like to thank the following project partners for the great cooperation and their efforts to install this monitoring network

Rodolfo Bassan, Claudio Belis, Dieter Heublein, Saverio Iozza, Thomas Jakl, Gert Jakobi, Manfred Kirchner, Wilhelm Knoth, Norbert Kräuchi, Walkiria Levy-Lopez, Teresa Magnani, Wolfgang Moche, Michael Oehme, Ivo Offenthaler, Barbara Perthen-Palmisano, David Schmid, Karl-Werner Schramm, Helga Schrott, Peter Schröder, Isabella Sedivy, Primož Simončič, Peter Weiss, Ursa Vilhar