Environmental magnetism for air pollution monitoring in Flanders
This proposal aims to investigate the application potential of environmental magnetism for air
pollution monitoring in Flanders (BE). While soils accumulate atmospheric particles over long
timespans, vegetation only captures particles within a growing season. Together they respectively
represent sub-recent and recent impact of air pollution.
First, a standardized protocol will be developed to accurately record the magnetic signal of soil and
vegetation. This methodology will then be applied in a Flemish study area, and used to create
spatial distribution maps of the magnetic properties and heavy metal content for soil and
vegetation. The resultant data will form the first part of a Flemish magnetic atlas, which can be
used in environmental studies assessing past and future pollution impact.
Second, monitoring units will be designed consisting of a box filled with standardized soil and
topped with a moss layer. They will capture magnetic air particles allowing both annual evaluation
of pollution through the vegetation, and monitoring long-term impact through the soil.
Subsequently, boxes will be installed at locations where air pollution monitoring is now sparse.
The developed units will provide a long-term and renewable solution to accurately record current
Combined, the project aims to advance current knowledge of industrial emission impact in
Flanders, while providing solutions for future monitoring in an economically viable and
scientifically robust way.