Screening for High Emission Reduction Potential on Air

The SHERPA training is now on 'EU Academy', available at:

The 2021 PM2.5 Urban Atlas has been published. More details here:


SHERPA (Screening for High Emission Reduction Potential on Air) is a Java/Python tool, which allows for a rapid exploration of potential air quality improvements resulting from national/regional/local emission reduction measures. The tool has been developed with the aim of supporting national, regional and local authorities in the design and assessment of their air quality plans.The tool is based on the relationships between emissions and concentration levels, and can be used to answer the following type of questions:

  •   What is the potential for local action in my domain?

  •   What are the priority activity, sectors and pollutants on which to take action and,

  •   What is the optimal dimension that my policy action domain (city, region…) should have to be efficient?"

The SHERPA tool is distributed with EU-wide data on emissions and source-receptor models (spatial resolution of roughly 7x7 km2), so that it is very easy to start working on any region/local domain in Europe.

More specifically, SHERPA logical pathway is implemented through the following steps:

  •   Source allocation: to understand how the air quality in a given area is influenced by different sources;

  •   Governance: to analyze how one should coordinate with the surrounding regions to optimally improve air quality;

  •   Scenario analysis: to simulate the impact on air quality of a specific emission reduction scenario (defined also through the previous two steps)

Delta Tool

SHERPA can also provide input data to be used RIAT+ (The Regional Integrated Assessment Tool), a more advanced tool for Integrated Assessment Modeling dealing with the cost-effectiveness of measures.


Registered users can freely download SHERPA. If not yet registered in the DELTA database, you will be asked to do so. Once registered, run the setup and a link will automatically be created on your desktop and in the Windows Start menu. You can run SHERPA by double-clicking any shortcut on your desktop or in the startup menu.

Methodological Papers

Application Papers

Further Information

  •   The SHERPA model has been used to produce the Air Quality "Atlas" for Europe. The Atlas, produced by the JRC, provides information on the type and location of the main emission sources of urban background particulate matter (PM2.5) in the air, for the 150 European cities with a population density above 1,500/km2 and a population above 50,000.

  •   An infographic and a video are also available, explaining how the Air Quality "Atlas" for Europe has been produced and how the SHERPA model works.

  •   The data used to produce the PM2.5 Atlas are available here.


Enrico Pisoni , Philippe Thunis

Joint Research Centre
Via E.Fermi, 2749
21027 Ispra (Varese, IT)