Project to calculate emissions reductions across Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic

26 June 2020
BSC to collaborate with the ECMWF and the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service to quantify the reduction of pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions.

Responding to an increasing demand to quantify the effects of the COVID19 measures, especially in the environment and air quality, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) have signed a contract to calculate European emission reductions during the pandemic in the framework of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS). ECMWF operates CAMS on behalf of the European Commission.

In collaboration with CAMS, BSC will provide time, sector and country dependent European emission reduction factors attributable to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic so that they can be used to quantify the reduction of European primary emissions for both criteria pollutants (NOx, CO, SOx, NMVOC, NH3, PM10 and PM2.5) and greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4). These factors are designed for use together with the baseline European emissions inventory also available from CAMS.

In order to carry out the calculation of the factors involved in the reduction of emissions, BSC will compile, analyze and combine activity data observed in almost real-time from multiple information sources, with weather information and artificial intelligence techniques, among others.

The resulting dataset of this collaboration will support multiple emission and air quality modelling applications within CAMS, including the European Air Quality information in support of the COVID-19 crisis.

Marc Guevara, researcher of the Earth Sciences Department of the BSC in charge of this project, highlights: “The results of this work will not only help to quantify the impact of lockdown policies during the COVID-19 pandemic on European emissions, but they will also help the scientific community of air quality modelling”.

Collaborations between BSC and EU’s Copernicus Programme

BSC has several on-going collaborations with the ECMWF and the Copernicus Services implemented by this European Commission’s Entrusted Entity: the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).

Amongst others, since 2018, BSC is contractor for the quality control of the weather data storage of C3S, which is the world’s largest public repository of weather data.

The Earth Science department of the BSC is also participating as a subcontractor in several CAMS components, including development of global aerosol aspects (CAMS_43), regional production (CAMS_50), development of regional air quality modelling and data assimilation aspects (CAMS_61), global and regional emissions (CAMS_81), global and regional a posteriori evaluation and quality assurance (CAMS_84) and use cases (CAMS_95).

They also collaborate in the development of a weather forecast model (in particular the continental surface component in the H2020 ESCAPE-2 project), and in the computational part of the atmospheric model (IFS) and in the oceans model NEMO.

Further in the last weeks, BSC is collaborating with the Spanish government to prepare a Spanish candidacy for Barcelona to host the third facility of ECMWF. ECMWF headquarters are located in Reading (UK) and its data centre is located in Bologna (Italy). Decision about the selection of the location of the third facility will be taken by ECMWF Council in December this year.

About ECMWF and Copernicus

Copernicus is the Earth Observation Programme of the European Union, created to achieve the atmospheric, oceanic and continental surfaces operational monitorization. Its aim is to provide reliable and valid information for a range of weather and security applications. The European Commission has entrusted the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts ( with the implementations tasks of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) and of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).