Air quality reference and calibration laboratory

Finnish Meteorological Institute acts as a National Reference Laboratory for Air Quality according to the Finnish legislation for ambient air protection and as a Designated Institute for the quantity of air quality. Laboratory produces high-quality calibration services.

Air quality calibration laboratory consists of the national reference laboratory and the air quality standard laboratory. It is an impartial calibration laboratory K043 accredited by the Finnish Accreditation Service FINAS (accreditation requirement SFS-EN ISO/IEC 17025:2017). Laboratory uses standardized calibration and analysis methods and it has a wide co-operation network that enables comprehensive interaction of sharing expertise and knowledge.

Laboratory worker and instrument rack
General view of the laboratory room. Kuva Pia Anttila

Air Quality Calibration Services

The standard and reference laboratory produces calibration services on its scope of competency. The clients are, e.g., air quality measurement networks of municipalities, the background air quality measurement network maintained by FMI, universities, research institutes, and private companies. Calibration services cover both calibrations within the accredited scope of competency (FINAS-accredited calibration laboratory K043) as well as those outside the accredited scope. All the calibrations are guaranteed to have a traceability chain to the SI units or to an international primary standard. Calibrations are issued with calibration certificates, in which the traceability is demonstrated to an SI unit or a national primary reference and in which the total uncertainty is given for the calibration concentrations. Calibrations can be made for analysers, transfer calibrators, gas standards, mass flow standards and gas dilution systems.

Calibration concentrations for gases

Calibrations are given for following gas concentrations within the accredited scope of competency: • carbon monoxide (CO) 0.05-100 µmol/mol • ozone (O₃) 0-1000 nmol/mol • sulphur dioxide (SO₂) 5-1000 nmol/mol • nitrogen monoxide (NO) 5-1000 nmol/mol • nitrogen monoxide (NO) 1-100 µmol/mol • nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) 5-1000 nmol/mol Additionally, calibrations outside the accredited scope can be made for carbon dioxide (CO₂), dinitrogen oxide (N₂O) and methane (CH₄). These calibrations are to be negotiated individually.

Mass flow calibrations

Mass flow calibrations are made also in the laboratory in the range of 0-10 000 ml/min. In these calibrations either nitrogen or synthetic air is used as a calibration gas. Mass flow calibrations are included within the accredited scope.

Reference Laboratory

Laboratory worker sitting in front of a computer and making notes, instruments
The national ozone standard reference photometer, NIST SRP no.37, is maintained at FMI. Kuva: Pia Anttila

The scope of competency of the national reference laboratory of air quality covers production of traceable calibrations and maintenance of traceability, sampling, and testing operation of analysers and measurement methods. Laboratory services the air quality networks of Finland and participates in the operation of the European Network of Air Quality Reference Laboratories.

The most central responsibilities are based on the requirements given in the EU Air Quality Directive (50/2008/EU) and the Finnish Government Degree on the Air Quality (Vna 79/2017): • demonstration of comparability of the Finnish air quality measurements within the EU • organising national air quality comparison measurements (reports can be found here) • transmission of training and knowledge on air quality related questions between the EU and the bodies responsible for air quality measurements in Finland • participation in the operation of the European Network of Air Quality Reference Laboratories (AQUILA) • participation in writing and revision of method standards related to air quality

Standard Laboratory

Standard Laboratory is a Designated Institute based on the agreement between FMI and the National Metrology Institute of Finland, VTT MIKES Metrology. Laboratory is responsible for maintenance and research of its quantity, i.e. air quality, as well as for calibrations traceable to the SI units. Operation of the laboratory is the basis for the traceability for all the air quality measurements in Finland.

FMI has joined the international Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) of calibration certificates, through which National Metrology Institutes and Designated Institutes demonstrate the international equivalence of their measurement standards and the calibration and measurement certificates they issue. The outcomes of the Arrangement are the internationally recognized (peer-reviewed and approved) Calibration and Measurement Capabilities (CMCs) of the participating institutes. Approved CMCs and supporting technical data are publicly available from the CIPM MRA database maintained by the International Bureau for Weight and Measures, BIPM.

To further develop its services, the laboratory follows the national and international legislation of ambient air protection concerning the relevant topics as well as participates in the research and development of the related measurement and calibration methods. Laboratory has participated successfully in the EMRP and EMPIR research programs of the European Association of National Metrology Institutes EURAMET.