The Air Quality Network of Berlin (BLUME)
BLUME guarantees continuous air quality monitoring since 1975.
The network consists of measurement equipment placed in containers which are positioned in a 4 km-grid according to the requirements of the TA Luft.
Additional measurements are performed in streets and residential areas with high pollution. The same measuring devices are on top of Berlin-Frohnau's Telephone tower at a height of 324 m to determine the influence of distant sources. All measuring devices are connected via telephone to the central computer, which controls the complete network and at the same time serves as the evaluation unit. In 1994, there were 45 containers with 147 measuring devices, among them 39 units for SO2, 43 for suspended particulate matter, 29 for NOx, 21 for CO, 10 for ozone, and 5 for HC(Hydrocarbons).
The total investment for the monitoring equipment was about 10 million DM. Costs for operation and maintentance are about 1,6 million DM per year. A team of 20 technicians and scientists is responsible for the operation of the network and the elvaluation of the data.
The data of ambient air monitoring are shown permanently on a display in the entrance hall of our office. 30-minute-values are transferred automatically to the Meteorological Institute of the Freie Universität Berlin. The institute's online weather information includes a report on ambient air quality in Berlin and is updated hourly. These reports are broadcasted regularly by several radio stations. From Monday through Friday, all 11 o'clock values and the maxima of the last 24 hours are reported daily in the press service of the government of Berlin. The information is also accessible through the BTX system of the German Telecom.
The air pollution by SO2 and dust has gone down since 1976 to about 20 % and 60 % due to the shift of from coal to cleaner fuels for domestic heating systems, and the reduction of the limits for sulfur content of the coal.
Levels of SO2 pollution are almost identical in both parts of Berlin, whereas dust-concentrations are higher in the eastern part. The daily trends of pollution levels on workdays and on the weekends show the strong influence of vehicle traffic, especially on the NOx concentrations. Usually, pollution levels reach a maximum in the inner-city areas during rush-hour on weekdays.
The distribution of ozone shows the opposite trend. Ozone is the only pollutant where concentrations on weekends and in the the suburbs are higher than in the inner city area.