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The RAINS(Regional Air Pollution INformation and Simulation)-Europe model has been developed as a tool for the integrated assessment of alternative strategies to reduce acid deposition in Europe. It describes in a multi-pollutant context the pathways of emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOX), ammonia (NH3), non-methane volatile organic compounds (VOC), and primary emissions of fine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM10-PM2.5) particles. Very recently, RAINS has been extended to include estimates of emissions of relevant greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Work is progressing to include methane (CH4), carbon monoxide (CO) and black carbon (BC) into the model framework. RAINS-Europe addresses threats to human health posed by fine particulates and ground-level ozone as well as risk of ecosystems damage from acidification, excess nitrogen deposition (eutrophication) and exposure to elevated ambient levels of ozone. It explores future trends in emission developments and impacts on sensitive ecosystems.

RAINS-Europe enables to estimate the costs and environmental effects of user-specified emission control policies (the "scenario analysis" mode). Besides, a non-linear optimisation mode can be used to identify the cost-minimal combination of emission controls meeting user-supplied air quality targets, taking into account regional differences in emission control costs and atmospheric dispersion characteristics. The optimisation capability of RAINS enables the development of cost-minimal balances of controls of the six pollutants over the various economic sectors in all European countries that simultaneously achieve user-specified targets for human health impacts, ecosystem protection, and maximum allowed violations of WHO guidelines values for ground-level ozone, etc. [1]


Typical Model Applications:

  • Estimating current and future levels of emissions (SO2, NOx, NH3, VOC, PM) in Europe for a range of scenarios; assessment of the atmospheric dispersion of emissions.
  • Scenario analysis: Estimation of costs, environmental benefits and impacts of alternative emission control strategies in current and future years on a regional, country or sub-country basis, addressing individual fuel types, economic sectors, and emission control technologies.
  • Optimisation: Identification of cost-optimal allocations of emission reductions in order to achieve specified deposition targets.[1]

Model structure:

RAINS consists of three sub-modules: the emission-cost module (EMCO), the acid deposition and ecosystem impact module (DEP), and the optimization module (OPT).

The EMCO module estimates current and future levels of emissions of SO2, NOx, VOC, NH3, primary PM2.5, and primary PM10-PM2.5, based on national statistics and projections of economic activity, energy consumption levels, fuel characteristics, agricultural activities etc. EMCO also estimates emission reduction costs. The cost evaluation is based on international operating experience of pollution control equipment by extrapolating it to the country-specific situation of application. A free and competitive market for the exchange of emission control technologies is assumed. National cost curves are derived which are used as input for the optimization module OPT.

The main function of the DEP module is to provide estimates of acid deposition loads throughout the region under study as a function of changing emissions and to compare them with maps of environmental sensitivities (the critical loads). Resulting deposition fields and critical loads achievement can be used to build target deposition levels used as input into OPT. Acid deposition fields are estimated using transfer matrices which are constructed from results of the EMEP long-range atmospheric transport model.

OPT identifies, for given set of regional target deposition levels, the cost-minimal allocation of measures (across European countries) to reduce emissions. Inputs for OPT are: a set of target deposition levels, national cost curves, and atmospheric transport matrices for the relevant pollutants.[1]

Sectoral coverage:

Fuel conversion (CON), centralized power plants and district heating (PP), domestic, commercial and agricultural use (DOM), transportation (TRA), industrial (IN), and non-energy use - feedstocks (NONEN)

Fuel types:

Coal (brown, hard, low/medium/high grade/quality), derived coal, other solid-low S (biomass, waste, wood), other solid-high S, heavy fuel oil, medium distillates, light fractions, natural gas, renewable, hydro, nuclear, electricity, heat, no fuel use.

Dynamic structure:

The time horizon extends from 1990 up to 2030.[1]

Main Model Results:

  • Sectoral emission reductions for the various pollutants across countries
  • Sectoral emission reduction costs for the individual pollutants by country
  • Listings of technological means that need to be adopted in the various countries and economic sectors in order to meet the environmental targets
  • Emissions and emission control costs aggregated to countries
  • Fields of ambient concentrations of ozone, PM10 and PM2.5 across Europe with a 50*50 km2 resolution
  • Estimates of ozone, PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations in urban areas
  • Fields of acid deposition, distinguishing sulphur, oxidized and reduced nitrogen compounds in 50*50km2
  • Fields of nitrogen deposition, distinguishing oxidized and reduced nitrogen compounds in 50*50 km2,
  • Accumulated excess deposition of acidifying compounds exceeding the critical loads of all ecosystems in a grid cell in 50*50 km2,
  • The area/percentage of ecosystems with acid/nitrogen deposition above their critical loads, with a 50*50 km2 resolution
  • Excess deposition for selected ecosystems
  • Number of people that are exposed in rural/urban areas to PM/ozone concentrations above selected threshold values
  • Loss in statistical life expectancy due to PM pollution, per country/grid cell etc.[1]

Required technical infrastructure:

RAINS is implemented for WINDOWS95/98/NT/2000 based software systems.

Structure of Input Data:

  • Input data for SO2 control technologies have been reviewed in the process of the negotiations for the Second Sulfur Protocol of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution and have been recently updated to take into account latest operating experience. Input data for NOX and NH3 have been reviewed by countries in the preparation process for the Second NOX Protocol of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution in January 1997.
  • Databases on critical loads and critical levels were compiled at the Coordination Center for Effects at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in the Netherlands.
  • Atmospheric dispersion processes over Europe for sulphur and nitrogen compounds are modelled based on results of the EMEP model developed at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.
  • For tropospheric ozone, source-receptor relationships between the precursor emissions and the regional ozone concentrations are derived from the EMEP photo-oxidants model.
  • Emissions of SO2, NOX, NH3 and VOC are estimated based on information collected by the CORINAIR'90 inventory of the European Environment Agency and on national information.[1]

Model Extensions:

Extension of RAINS-Europe aim at including emissions of greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, HFC, PFC, SF6) and taking into account the interactions between emission control options of multiple pollutants and their effects on multiple environmental endpoints.

Links to other Models, Projects, Networks:

  • EMEP: EMEP uses RAINS-Europe for integrated assessment; EMEP provides transfer matrices to RAINS-Europe
  • PRIMES: PRIMES provides projections of energy development to RAINS-Europe
  • TREMOVE: TREMOVE provides detailed transport scenarios to RAINS-Europe
  • CAFE: RAINS-Europe provides the CAFE baseline scenario and the integrated assessment modelling work[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 JRC: IA TOOLS. Supporting inpact assessment in the European Commission. [1]

Amann, M. (2004), The Regional Air Pollution Information and Simulation (RAINS) model, Review 2004, February 2004.

Klaassen, G., Amann, M. et al. (2004), The Extension of the RAINS Model to Greenhouse Gases, IIASA Interim Report IR-04-015, Laxenburg.