Purpose of the monitoring network

The National Air Pollution Monitoring Network (NABEL) measures air pollution at 16 locations in Switzerland. The stations are distributed throughout the country and monitor pollution at typical locations (e.g. city-centre streets, residential areas, rural stations).

The monitoring network has commenced operations in stages since 1979. A modernization programme undertaken between 1989 and 1991 saw NABEL expanded from 8 to16 stations.

Article 39 of the LRV requires the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) to collect data on air pollution throughout Switzerland. The fulfilment of this statutory mandate is among the principal purposes of the NABEL network. NABEL measures indicator pollutants of national significance (e.g. nitrogen dioxide, ozone, fine particles (PM10), etc.). It is thus an important instrument for enforcing the LRV, especially insofar as it serves to monitor the success of air-pollution control measures (Art. 44 of the Environmental Protection Law).

Furthermore, the data collected through NABEL are made available for use in scientific investigations of air pollutants (effects on the environment and on human health), meteorological aspects, atmospheric chemistry studies, etc.). NABEL was expressly conceived as a monitoring network and not as an early-warning system.

Data exchange with international programmes

NABEL undertakes a close exchange of data with several international monitoring programmes. Since monitoring activities commenced, various rural stations have formed part of the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP), which principally investigates the long-range transport of air pollutants across Europe. In addition, NABEL places its data at the disposal of EUROAIRNET, which was established by the European Environment Agency and primarily comprises stations from urban and suburban areas of all European countries.

The Jungfraujoch station is part of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)'s Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) programme. Together with two other high-alpine stations in Germany and Austria, it serves as a background station for the free troposphere across the Central European region.

Further information

Last modification 04.05.2021

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