Met Éireann’s Environmental Laboratory exists because of the World Meteorological Organisation’s Global Atmospheric Watch program. GAW monitors the state of the Global environment with special reference to its chemical composition. Met Éireann collects daily air and rain samples from Valentia Observatory.

These samples are then analysed for the common inorganic ions. Daily air and rain samples from EPA sites are also analysed. The results are submitted to GAW and to the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP). We also co-operate with NUIG’s air monitoring program in Mace Head.

Valentia rainfall sampling started in 1957 on a monthly basis and moved up to daily sampling in 1980. Monthly sampling for Dublin Airport, Belmullet, Birr, Rosslare, Malin Head and Clones started in 1958. Shannon was added in 1961. Belmullet, Clones and Malin Head are still sending monthly samples.

Air analysis started in 1961/62 using absorption solution exposed for a month. The participating stations were Valentia, Belmullet, Birr, Rosslare, Malin Head and Shannon Airport. Dublin Airport, Clones and Cork Airport were added in the 1970s. Monthly air sampling was discontinued in all stations by 1992.

Daily air sampling using filters started in Valentia Observatory in February, 1980. SO4_S, SO2_S were the components measured. The measurement of NO2_N started in February, 1982. NO3_N and Cations were added to the filter sampling in January 2004.

Data from all of these sampling programs is available on request.