Aerosol measurement station in Augsburg (2004 - ongoing)

Epidemiological studies have shown a positive association between ambient (outdoor) particulate matter (PM) concentrations and cardiovascular and respiratory morbidity and mortality. Several studies have documented that especially the fine fraction (PM2.5) of PM10 is associated with health effects.

In the framework of this project we established 2004 a measurement station in cooperation with University Augsburg, Environmental Science Center. The monitoring station is located on the premises of the University of Applied Sciences Augsburg.

On the basis of the collected data we are able to characterize the urban aerosol in terms of source apportionment and the daily impact of the specific particle source to the particle concentration. The measurement site serves as a platform for further investigation on the field of exposure assessment as well as epidemiological research. Allied studies with separate funding investigate relationship between fine and ultrafine particles and human health. Presently, the main focus is on health effects on the cardiovascular system; these examinations are conducted by the Cooperative Health Research in the region of Augsburg (KORA).

Aerosol online measurements in Augsburg

  • Physical particle characterization:
    • Volatile and nonvolatile particle size distribution (3 nm to 1 µm)
    • Particle size distribution (0.8 nm to 10 µm)
    • Total particle number concentration (3 nm to 3 µm)
    • Volatile and nonvolatile mass concentration of PM2.5 and PM10
    • Active surface of particles (10 nm to 1 µm)
    • Particle length concentration (10 nm to 1 µm)
  • Chemical particle characterization:
    • Particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons 
    • Mass concentration of black carbon (< 2.5 µm)
  • Meteorological measurements:
    • Barometric pressure 
    • Global radiation
    • Wind direction
    • Wind speed
    • Temperature
    • Relative humidity
    • Rainfall
    Meteorological data available at


Aerosol measurement station in Augsburg:

Exterior ViewInterior View

Project team:

  • Dr. Josef Cyrys (project coordination, HMGU, Institute of Epidemiology)
  • Dr. Jens Soentgen (project coordination, University Augsburg, Environmental Science Center)
  • Thomas Kusch (technician, University Augsburg, Environmental Science Center)
  • M.Sc. Esther Giemsa (doctoral student, University Augsburg, Environmental Science Center)
  • Dr. Michal Kowalski (postdoc, HMGU, Institute of Epidemiology)



Helmholtz Zentrum München
Institute of Epidemiology
Dr. Josef Cyrys
P.O. Box 1129
D-85758 Neuherberg
Tel. +49 89 3187-4156
Fax +49 89 3187-3380

The project is funded by the Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health and University Augsburg, Environmental Science Center.

Related publications:

  • Birmili W, Heinke K, Pitz M, Matschullat J, Wiedensohler A, Cyrys J., Wichmann HE, Peters A:
    Particle number size distributions in urban air before and after volatilisation.
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 10, 4643-4660, 2010.

  • Birmili W, Weinhold K, Nordmann S, Wiedensohler A, Spindler G, Müller K, Herrmann H, Gnauk T, Pitz M, Cyrys J, Flentje H, Nickel C, Kuhlbusch TAJ, Löschau G, Haase D, Meinhardt F, Schwerin A, Ries L, Wirtz K:
    Atmospheric aerosol measurements in the German Ultrafine Aerosol Network (GUAN). Part 1: Soot and particle number size distributions.
    Gefahrstoffe - Reinhaltung der Luft, 69 Nr. 4, 137-145, (2009)

  • Bruckmann P, Birmili W, Straub W, Pitz M, Pfeffer U, Hebbinghaus H, Wurzler S, Olschewski A:
    An outbreak of Saharan dust causing high PM10 levels north of the Alps.
    Gefahrstoffe - Reinhaltung der Luft, 68 Nr. 11/12, 490-498, (2008)

  • Cyrys J, Pitz M, Heinrich J, Wichmann HE, Peters A:
    Spatial and temporal variation of particle number concentration in Augsburg, Germany.
    Sci Tot Environ 401, 168-175 (2008)

  • Nordmann S, Birmili W, Weinhold K, Wiedensohler A, Mertes S, Müller K, Gnauk T, Herrmann H, Pitz M, Cyrys J, Flentje H, Ries L, Wirtz K:
    Atmospheric aerosol measurements in the German Ultrafine Aerosol Network (GUAN). Part 2: Comparison of measurements techniques for graphitic, light-absorbing, and elemental carbon, and non-volatile particle volume under field conditions.
    Gefahrstoffe - Reinhaltung der Luft, 69 Nr. 11/12, 469-474, (2009)

  • Pitz M, Birmili W, Schmid O, Peters A, Wichmann HE, Cyrys J:
    Quality control and quality assurance of ambient particle size distribution measurements at an urban monitoring station in Augsburg, Germany.
    J Environ Monitoring 10, 1017-1024 (2008)

  • Pitz M, Schmid O, Heinrich J, Birmili W, Maguhn J, Zimmermann R, Wichmann HE, Peters A, Cyrys J:
    Seasonal and Diurnal Variation of PM2.5 Apparent Particle Density in Urban Air in Augsburg, Germany.
    Environ Sci Technology 42, 5087-59093 (2008)
    online publication

  • Putaud JP, Van Dingenen R, Alastuey A, Bauer H, Birmili W, Cyrys J, Flentje H, Fuzzi S, Gehrig R, Hansson HC, Harrisn RM, Herrmann H, Hitzenberger R, Hüglin C, Jones AM, Kasper-Giebl A, Kiss G, Kousa A, Kuhlbusch TAJ, Löschau G, Maenhaut W, Molnar A, Moreno T, Pekkanen J, Perrino C, Pitz M, Puxbaum H, Querol X, Rodriguez S, Salma I, Schwarz J, Smolik J, Schneider J, Spindler G, ten Brink H, Tursic J, Viana M, Wiedensohler A, Raes F:
    European aerosol phenomenology – 3: Physical and chemical characteristics of particulate matter from 60 rural, urban, and kerbside sites across Europe.
    Atmospheric Environment, 44, 1308-1320 (2010)
    Publication by sciencedirect

  • Schäfer, K. W. Thomas, A. Peters, L. Ries, F. Obleitner, J. Schnelle-Kreis, W. Birmili, J. Diemer, W. Fricke, W. Junkermann, M. Pitz, S. Emeis, R. Forkel, P. Suppan, H. Flentje, S. Gilge, H. E. Wichmann, F. Meinhardt, R. Zimmermann, K. Weinhold, J. Soentgen, C. Münkel, C. Freuer, J. Cyrys:
    Influences of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcanic plume on air quality in the northern Alpine region.
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 11, 8555-8575, 2011.

  • Pitz, M., Gu, J., Soentgen, J., Peters, A., Cyrys, J. (2011):
    Particle size distribution factor as an indicator for the impact of the Eyjafjallajökull ash plume at ground level in Augsburg, Germany.
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 11, 9367-9374.

  • Gu, J., Pitz, M., Schnelle-Kreis, J., Diemer, J., Reller, A., Zimmermann, R., Soentgen, J., Stoelzel, M., Wichmann, H.E., Peters, A., Cyrys, J.:
    Source apportionment of ambient particles: Comparison of positive matrix factorization analysis applied to particle size distribution chemical composition data.
    Atmospheric Environment 45, 1849-1857 (2011).

  • Elsasser, M., M. Crippa, J. Orasche, P. F. DeCarlo, M. Oster, M. Pitz, J. Cyrys, T. L. Gustafson, J. B. C. Pettersson, J. Schnelle-Kreis, A. S. H. Prévôt, and R. Zimmermann:
    Organic molecular markers and signature from wood combustion particles in winter ambient aerosols: aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) and high time-resolved GC-MS measurements in Augsburg, Germany.
    Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 6113–6128, 2012.

  • Gu, J. M. Pitz, S. von Klot, W. Birmili, J. Soentgen, S. Breitner, A. Schneider, A. Peters, J. Cyrys:
    Selection of key ambient particulate variables for epidemiological studies — Applying cluster and heatmap analyses as tools for data reduction.
    Science of the Total Environment, 435/436, 541–550, 2012.

  • Hänninen, O., Sorjamaa, R., Lipponen, P., Cyrys, J., Lanki, T., Pekkanen, J.:
    Aerosol-based modelling of infiltration of ambient PM2.5 and evaluation against population-based measurements in homes in Helsinki, Finland.
    Journal of Aerosol Science 66, 111–122, 2013.

  • Gu, J., Schnelle-Kreis, J., Pitz, M., Diemer, J., Reller, A., Zimmermann, R., Soentgen, J., Wichmann, HE., Peters, A., Cyrys, J.:
    Spatial and temporal variability of PM10 sources in Augsburg, Germany,
    Atmospheric Environment 71, 131–139, 2013.

  • Pickford, R., …, Cyrys, J., …, Schneider, A.:
    Associations between ambient air pollution and blood markers of inflammation and coagulation/fibrinolysis in susceptible populations.
    Environment International 2014. 70: 32-49.

  • Babisch, W., …, Cyrys, J. and Peters, A.:
    Associations between traffic noise, air pollution, hypertension and isolated systolic hypertension. Results from the KORA study.
    Environmental Health Perspectives 2014, 122(5): 492–498.

  • Flentje, H., Briel, B., Beck, C., Collaud Coen, M., Fricke, M., Cyrys, J., Gu, J., Pitz, M., Thomas, W.:
    Identification and monitoring of Saharan dust: An inventory representative for south Germany since 1997.
    Atmospheric Environment 2015, 109: 87–96.

  • Ward-Caviness, C.K., Nwanaji-Enwerem, J.C., Wolf, K., Wahl, S., Colicino, E., Trevisi, L., Kloog, I., Just, A.C., Vokonas, P., Cyrys, J., Gieger, C., Schwartz, J., Baccarelli, A.A., Schneider A. and Peters, A.:
    Long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with biological aging.
    Oncotarget 2016, 7, 74510-74525.

  • Rückerl, R., Schneider, A., Hampel, R., Breitner, S., Cyrys, J., Kraus, U., Gu, J., Soentgen, J., Koenig, W., Peters, A.:
    Association of novel metrics of particulate matter with vascular markers of inflammation and coagulation in susceptible populations – results from a panel study.
    Environmental Research, 2016, 150: 337–347.

  • Panni, T., Mehta, A.J., Schwartz, J.D., Baccarelli, A.A., Just, A.C., Wolf, K., Wahl, S., Cyrys, J., Kunze S., Strauch, K., Waldenberger, M., Peters, A:
    A Genome-Wide Analysis of DNA Methylation and Fine Particulate Matter Air Pollution in Three Study Populations: KORA F3, KORA F4, and the Normative Aging Study.
    Environmental Health Perspectives 2016, 124 (7): 983 – 990.

  • Schäfer, K., Elsässer, M., Arteaga-Salas, J.M., Gu, J., Pitz, M., Schnelle-Kreis, J., Cyrys, J., Emeis, S., Prevot, A.S.H. and Zimmermann, R.:
    Impact of meteorological conditions on airborne particle characteristics and pollutant concentrations in urban areas.
    Meteorologische Zeitschrift 2016, 25 (3): 267–279.

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