Skip to main content

Sustainable Development and Technologies National Programme of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences


Investigation of the amount of nitrogen loss from fertilizers. Estimation of environmental nitrogen load from plant cultures, using physical measurement methods.


The project aims to develop photoacoustic (PA) measuring systems which, in addition to NH3, is also suitable for the simultaneous measurement of the flux of a greenhouse gas and stratospheric ozone depleting N2O, emitted from soils, or from plants. Field investigations will be completed with laboratory, climate chamber experiments. Model development is also planned to simulate the NH3 and N2O fluxes between the soil – plant and the atmosphere.
Further planned tasks: testing, calibration, and determination of the analytical parameters of an open-chamber, photoacoustic measuring system suitable for measuring the concentration of aerosol particles. Performing flow acoustic and photoacoustic excitation numerical modelling with increased flow velocity. Developing a plan for installing the measuring system on a drone, for field use. Integrating and testing the laser light source and the open chamber.
Development of a measurement setup suitable for controlled laboratory modelling of laser-excited biomass and elemental carbon (soot) particles. Mapping of gas-phase cross-effects.


One of our goals is the continuous high-frequency photoacoustic measurement of the NH3 and N2O flux above arable lands using the eddy covariance method. In addition, we are planning additional soil, plant, and meteorological measurements, with continuous measurement of soil NH3 and N2O emissions at several plots. Parallel measurement of the total gas emission of the soil – canopy system and the emission of the soil, in order to separate the NH3 and N2O fluxes of the soil and plant. Modelling of the NH3 and N2O fluxes between the soil – plant and the atmosphere. Development, testing and application of models.


Conducting experiments in climate chambers. Measuring the concentration of NH3 and N2O in the chambers using the PA method, separately for plants and soils, to determine the extent of gas exchange between soil-air and plant-air. Testing the effect of plant drought stress and nitrogen supply on the level of gas emissions. Estimating the effect of climate change on gas emissions. It is an important question how abiotic plant stress (e.g. heat stress, drought stress) – that is currently and expected to occur more frequently in the future – affects emissions. Therefore, we perform chlorophyll fluorescence tests under stress and control conditions.

Developing high-precision, ppb-level PA measurement of the 14N/15N isotope ratio. We can follow the processes occurring in the soil – plant – atmosphere system by measuring the stable isotope ratio, taken advantage of every physical and chemical transformation involves a specific change in the isotope abundance. Since the natural ratio of 15N is only 0.36%, enrichment is necessary, in the form of 15NH4Cl added to the substrate. Further testing options and goals include the use of 15N labelling techniques with 15NH4+ and 15NO3– isotope enrichment. By using either or both of these methods in combination with the measurement of isotopic ratios of released gases, we can obtain important information on the mechanisms of processes occurring in the soil that are not fully understood yet.

Generation and photoacoustic examination of biomass-derived and elemental carbon particles under controlled laboratory conditions. Determination of wavelength and laser parameters for PA system development. Design and development of resonator and PA detector unit. Design and development of an open-chamber system that can be installed on a drone. Investigation of the spectral response and energy characteristics of biomass-derived particles using a drone-mounted system. Atmospheric emission measurements. Laboratory measurement of the spectral response of tarball particles. Investigation of savanna fire emissions in the frame of international cooperation. Investigation of the spectral response of biomass-derived particles using a drone-mounted system. Development and finalization of measurement models. Verification of the applicability of spectral response for identifying the source of emitting biomass. Estimation of climatic effects. Verification of the applicability of drone-mounted PA systems in the immediate vicinity of emissions and in remote emission environments. Exploration of the composition and emission source characteristics inherent in the spectral response.

Development of Atmospheric Environmental Products to Support the Potential Use of Wind and Solar Energy

1. Atmospheric support for the use of renewable energies

Accurate knowledge of the current state of the atmosphere, i.e. a constantly updated database based on observations made with authentic measuring instruments, is essential for forecasting potentially usable wind and solar energy in a given area and in a given time interval. In addition to traditional meteorological elements, the database includes information provided by weather satellites, meteorological radars, vertical wind profiles and cloud base meters, as well as cloud cameras.

The most important part of our planned developments is the harmonization of the measured atmospheric data with other background information: the creation of an objective analysis. The concept of objective analysis has existed since the beginning of numerical modeling. This concept originally meant the production of information from an irregular surveillance network on a regular grid, using an objective method. Later, with the appearance of the background field and other types of information, the concept of objective analysis was also expanded, but the emphasis is definitely on the fact that the analysis field is generated automatically on the regular grid, without direct human intervention. The creation of these types of methods became essential with the appearance and development of numerical forecasting, since computers can only be entrusted with operations that can be performed automatically. The objective analysis forms the basis of the linear forecast, which is prepared for the next 1-2 hours. We call this meteorological nowcasting: according to our expectations, significant methodological development results will be achieved in the field of objective analysis and nowcasting.

Our developments may later pave the way for making forecasts with dynamic models for several hours or days more accurate. Due to the non-linear development of the atmosphere, this is currently the only possibility to predict the future state of the atmosphere, thus the availability of renewable energies. In addition to conventional models, the WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting) model, which is also used for research and development tasks, can play a role in our planned research and development.

2. Development of air quality products and their role in achieving sustainable development goals

The aim of the research topic is to contribute to a more reliable assessment of the state of air quality by using emission inventories, measurement information and model calculations. This can have important socio-economic benefits by enabling both individuals and society to prevent/minimize exposure to poor air quality and reduce pollutant emissions and associated negative health effects.

Exploring the connections between air pollution and sustainable development goals is also important from the point of view of society. In addition, research into the factors that reduce pollution and the factors that cause pollution and the evaluation of these effects are also important from the point of view of a more efficient and effective climate/air quality policy. Exploring the spatio-temporal behavior of air quality is also an important research area from the point of view of sustainable development.

Human and ecological sustainability of environments exposed to significant anthropogenic effects

In cities, aerosol particles resulting from resuspension of deposited road dust by moving vehicles and wind, and direct emissions from mechanical abrasion of vehicles, can contribute up to 30–50% of urban PM10. An on-line sampling method was developed to collect the respirable fraction of deposited road dust, allowing the application of previously unused analytical methods. Estimation of the contribution of the resuspended fraction to atmospheric PM10 has only been possible by modelling. In this research we will determine the contribution of this aerosol source type based on the chemical composition of the resuspended and atmospheric PM10. We will estimate the residence time of resuspended road dust using natural radionuclides in the atmosphere as tracers. In addition, toxicological tests will be carried out to determine the genetic and cell biological changes and DNA damage caused by resuspended road dust in humans. In addition to the scientific results, the identification of resuspended road dust in urban atmospheric PM10 and the determination of its contribution, residence time and effects on human health will have social and economic benefits, as it can help to develop effective measures by municipalities and authorities to protect urban air quality. The reduction of urban PM10 pollution can contribute to the reduction of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

In recent decades, the reproductive success of animals living in urban habitats has changed dramatically due to changes in food supply and the lack of natural food sources. Intense human disturbance could have a negative impact on the reproduction of urban populations; however, several animal species are rapidly adapting to the constant human presence and activities. This adaptation often becomes a source of conflict, and in order to find sustainable strategies for coexistence with urban animal populations, it is therefore necessary to explore the mechanisms that lead to the development of tolerance/bolder behaviour towards humans. In this new project, our main aim is to identify potential relationships between relevant local environmental conditions and the reproductive success, survival and behaviour of urban animals. Using a combined approach of fieldwork and radio-telemetry tracking, we are characterising the mortality and habitat use of fledgling birds and identifying the most favourable urban habitat types for this sensitive life stage. Our aim is to investigate the effects of anthropogenic food sources on the reproductive success, offspring development and health of urban birds. We will experimentally test whether rapid adaptation to human disturbance and increased risk-taking behaviour involves epigenetic mechanisms. Finally, we will investigate the effects of human disturbance at the community level, i.e. which species are sensitive to persistent disturbance and which are not. We hope that our studies will contribute to a better understanding of the effects of urbanisation on communities, the challenges faced by urban wildlife and the responses to these challenges. All of this is essential if we are to more effectively and sustainably conserve the original ecosystem in our built environment.

Our altered environment, caused by the extreme effects of climate change and scarcity of raw materials, is challenging in the short term. Preparing to anticipate and mitigate the social and economic impacts of unavoidable changes is essential. The key pillar is awareness raising, which is a prerequisite for the feasibility of mitigation and adaptation goals. In this research we will develop a methodology for measuring and assessing adaptation readiness, implement training topics related to adaptation readiness, implement online training formats in Hungarian and English, and finally train professionals with appropriate knowledge. A scientifically based and sophisticated information database will be created in Hungarian. The aim of this platform is to disseminate comprehensible visual, audio and written information on adaptation that will help prepare organisations, communities and individuals for the accelerating changes caused by the combined effects of the complex impacts of resource depletion and climate change, among other factors. The Credible Adaptation Platform, which presents the processes and interrelationships, and also makes it possible to understand the most important international research, enables the dissemination of credible and understandable visual, audio and written information related to adaptation. It facilitates discussion between stakeholders and helps them stay informed about changes by quickly processing and delivering up-to-date scientific information.