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Improving the assessment of the odour annoyance potential

The annoyance caused by exposure to environmental odour is a problem that several countries worldwide are currently facing. Development of appropriate odour assessment methods is therefore necessary to offer better protection against olfactory nuisances for the public. In particular, there is a need for action in industrialized countries due to the number of complaints still reported to authorities towards industrial and agricultural facilities. A practical, suitable way to avoid odour annoyance in both residential and rural areas is to calculate separation distances between odour-emitting sources and residents. However, there are important challenges and limitations in calculating reliable separation distances, starting from the main inputs to dispersion models to the perception of odour by residents. To improve the necessary parameters used in assessing the odour annoyance potential, we will address three goals. The first goal explores the necessity to expand the odour emission rate by the temporal variability in contrast to a constant emission value. The second goal deals with the challenge to adapt the meteorological input data in a way to handle environmental odour (discrete stability schemes vs. metric measures of the atmospheric stability) and the determination of appropriate temporal lengths of meteorological data. The third goal investigates the consideration of predictors which influence the perception of odour and the related annoyance. The investigations will be performed for Austrian sites in flat and complex terrain, which are representative for typical meteorological dispersion situations. Two state-of-the-art dispersion models will be used, with different scenarios of model inputs, primarily related to the emission rate and the meteorological data. The assessment of the perception-related odour exposure will be realized by the modification of the modelled ambient odour concentration by four identified confounders (peak-to-mean factors, temperature and daytime weighting, hedonic tone, reasonableness). Separation distances will be calculated as a final measure of the annoyance for different odour impact criteria. The expected findings of this project are relevant in providing better exposure estimates for epidemiological studies, developing robust strategies of emission control and mitigation programs, and increasing the cost-effectiveness of odour assessments. The findings could also be transferred to practice as new information for optimizing environmental odour guidelines and regulations. The researchers to be responsible for this project are Dr. Marlon Brancher (applicant, candidate for postdoctoral fellowship), Prof. Dr. Günther Schauberger (co-applicant and supervisor, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna) and Dr. Martin Piringer (cooperation partner and co-supervisor, Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik - ZAMG).
ImprovedOdourImpactCriteria IOIC
Project leader
Brancher Marlon
Schauberger Günther
FWF Lise-Meitner Stipendium
Type of Research
Applied research
Vetmed Research Units
Institute of Physiology, Pathohysiology and Biophysics, Unit of Physiology and Biophysics
Projekt partner
Contact: Dr. Martin Piringer
Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Hohe Warte 38, A Wien, Austria
Funded by
FWF - Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung, Sensengasse 1, 1090 Wien, Austria

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5 Publications

Wu, C; Yang, F; Brancher, M; Liu, J; Qu, C; Piringer, M; Schauberger, G (2020): Determination of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions from a commercial dairy farm with an exercise yard and the health-related impact for residents. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2020;
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Brancher, M; Hieden, A; Baumann-Stanzer, K; Schauberger, G; Piringer, M (2020): Performance evaluation of approaches to predict sub-hourly peak odour concentrations. Atmospheric Environment: X 2020; 7: 100076
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Brancher, M; Knauder, W; Piringer, M; Schauberger, G (2020): Temporal variability in odour emissions: To what extent this matters for the assessment of annoyance using dispersion modelling. Atmospheric Environment: X 2020; 5: 100054
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Wu, C; Brancher, M; Yang, F; Liu, J; Qu, C; Schauberger, G; Piringer, M (2019): A comparative analysis of methods for determining odour-related separation distances around a dairy farm in Beijing, China. Atmosphere 2019; 10: 231
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Brancher, M; Piringer, M; Grauer, AF; Schauberger, G (2019): Do odour impact criteria of different jurisdictions ensure analogous separation distances for an equivalent level of protection? J Environ Manage. 2019; 240:394-403
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