Metrological traceability for the analysis of environmental pollutants in the atmosphere

Francesca Rolle, Enrica Pessana, Michela Sega


The importance of carrying out accurate and reliable measurements is a fundamental topic in many different fields, in particular for the safeguard of the environment and the climatic conditions of the planet. This is the basis for the planning of correct actions to prevent environmental damages and potential harmful effects for the health of the human beings. The application of metrology to chemical monitoring can assure the reliability of measurement results.

At the Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRiM), the Italian Metrology Institute, different activities are carried out for the analysis of gaseous and organic pollutants in the atmosphere. This paper deals with some examples of such activities.

For gaseous pollutants primary gravimetric mixtures are produced for the calibration of the instrumentation devoted to the analysis of carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), with the aim of assuring traceability to the measurements of CO2 at ambient level and at the vehicles emission level, and of NOx at ambient level. On the other hand, research is carried out in the field of organic micropollutants, in particular regarding the establishment of metrological traceability for the atmospheric concentrations of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) adsorbed on particulate matter (PM).

Full Text: