NILU measures formaldehyde in Northern Italy


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NILU participates in the second FORMAT campaign, which will take place in Northern Italy during the period 8 September to 5 October 2003. Several scientists from NILU will be staying in the area around Milan to measure formaldehyde (HCHO) and test instruments to improve measurement techniques. NILU is using a DOAS instrument.
FORMAT is an atmospheric chemistry project funded by the Research Directorate of the European Commission under the 5th Framework Programme. NILU coordinates the project. The project started 1 November 2001 and will last for a period of 36 months. Responsible for the project at NILU is associate research director Geir O. Braathen.
NILU measures formaldehyde in Northern Italy

The purpose of the project is to improve the understanding of the processes that control the concentration and formation of ozone and other oxidants of the troposphere, and the role of formaldehyde in the formation of photochemical smog.

NILU measures formaldehyde in Northern Italy
Formaldehyde is formed in the oxidation process where methane and other hydrocarbons are oxidised to CO, and is therefore a good indicator for combustion of fossil fuel and biomass. A large number of different instruments and techniques are today used to detect formaldehyde. One of the main objectives of the FORMAT project is to perform an intercomparison of the various measurement techniques.

NILU will participate with a so-called DOAS instrument, using long pathlength differential optical absorption spectroscopy. It measures how much light is absorbed over a certain distance in the atmosphere. This technique makes it possible to measure formaldehyde, ozone, NO2, SO2 etc.

The campaign will take place in the areas around Milan, which are among the most polluted areas in Europe, and the possibilities to be able to measure high concentrations of formaldehyde is rather good. Further information about the FORMAT project is available on the web site:

NILU measures formaldehyde in Northern Italy

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