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Kårvatn monitoring station

Foto: Dorothea Schulze, NILU

Kårvatn monitoring station is located at Kårvatn Farm at the top of Todalen, on the outskirts of Trollheimen in Møre og Romsdal county. At this location, far away from major sources of pollution, Kårvatn also measures some of Europe’s lowest levels of airborne pollutants. Thus, the readings from Kårvatn provide a background level against which European measurements done closer to the emission sources can be compared.

Measurements taken at Kårvatn include tropospheric ozone, nitrogen and sulphur compounds in air and precipitation, carbonaceous material in particles, particle mass, and heavy metals in precipitation.

Part of the EMEP programme

Data from Kårvatn and the other background stations are used in the national surveillance programmes that NILU carries out on behalf of the Norwegian Environment Agency.

In addition, these data are used in several international programmes, such as the extensive European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP) under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLTRAP).

Kårvatn is one of five similar EMEP stations scattered throughout Norway. The other four are Zeppelin, Tustervatn, Hurdal and Birkenes.

NILU owns and operates these stations, which play an important role in national and international networks for airborne pollution monitoring.
Airborne pollutants can travel with the atmosphere over great distances and across borders, and this transport is called “long range”. Data from the network of monitoring stations enable researchers to trace the movements of long range transported contaminants.Map over NILU's monitoring stations

Acidification is still an environmental problem

Kårvatn has been operating since 1978. This makes it an important measurement station for documenting changes in emissions and air pollution over time. Major reductions in sulphur emissions in Europe over time have meant that acid rain is a considerably smaller problem in Norway now than in the 1970s to 1990s.

Nevertheless, acidification remains an environmental problem, especially in southern parts of the country. Emissions in Europe are the main cause of acid rain in Norway. 90% of the sulphur deposited in Norway comes from other countries. At Kårvatn, sulphur deposition has fallen by about 60% since 1990.

Operation and maintenance

NILU’s Division for Monitoring and Instrumentation Technology is responsible for maintaining the equipment NILU uses in monitoring.
Everyday routines are attended to by the staff at each station. At Kårvatn it is now Gudmund Kårvatn who handles the daily measurements. The samples he takes are sent to NILU at Kjeller for analysis and registration. He and the other station staffers collect air and precipitation samples from “their” background stations every day, all year long. Without their dedication, the comprehensive monitoring programme Norway has today would not have been possible.

Reports based on data from Kårvatn

“Data report. Particulate matter, carbonaceous and inorganic compounds”: https://nilu.no/pub/1646734/

“Monitoring of environmental contaminants in air and precipitation. Annual report 2017”: https://nilu.no/pub/1623001/

“Monitoring of long-range transported air pollutants in Norway, Annual Report 2017”: https://nilu.no/pub/1611971/