The application of models under the European Union`s Air Quality Directive: A technical reference guide


Courtesy of European Environment Agency (EEA)

This technical reference guide provides a general overview of the use of models with regard to the consolidated Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe (theAQ Directive). This guide has three key aims:

  • To provide common technical guidance for the use of air quality (AQ) modelling in relation to the EU's AQ Directive;
  • To provide a central reference point for the development of a harmonised approach to modelling;
  • To promote good practice in AQ modelling.1.1

Why is this guide important?

Previous AQ directives based air quality assessment and reporting largely on monitored measurement data. However, the 2008 directive places more emphasis on the use of models combined with monitoring data for a range of applications, as specified below.

Europe has not routinely employed a unified approach to air quality modelling. This has resulted in a range of models being applied, at both national and local level, in various forms and with differing and often incomparable quality assurance methods. As the application of air quality models increases in Europe, so too does the demand for a harmonised approach to quality assurance for these models. Several kinds of models are required to address a variety of applications on different spatial and temporal scales. It is thus not envisioned that a single reference model will ever be in place within Europe. However, it is expected that models be comparable, well documented, and validated for their required applications in order to achieve reliable modelling results.

In order to facilitate this, the Forum for Air Quality Modelling in Europe (Fairmode, was established in 2008 as a joint action of the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). This technical reference guide is an output of that joint action.

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