The risk of deposition of nutrient nitrogen in Europe, including Natura 2000 areas, is underpinned by a novel compilation of empirical critical loads and uncertainty analysis inspired by the IPCC. Collaboration with the network under the Convention for Long Range Trans-boundary Air Pollution improves the ability of the Coordination Centre for Effects (CCE) to assess the temporal and spatial development of this risk for support of European air pollution policy development.
Empirical critical loads of nitrogen confirm European wide exceedances
Empirical critical loads of nitrogen for sensitive European ecosystems show higher values than the well-known, modelled critical loads of nutrient nitrogen. However, this does not affect the regional distribution of exceedances. The risk of deposition of nutrient nitrogen remains widespread in many of the same regions. Ecosystems in Natura2000 areas are generally as sensitive to eutrophication as in other protected areas designated by European countries.
Much focus in this report is put on the chemical criteria that play an important role in the modelling of critical loads of nitrogen. Also reported is the progress made in the collaboration with National Focal Centres in the field of dynamic modelling and land-cover mapping.
Of the 19 National Focal Centres that responded to the “Call for Data” under the Convention on LRTAP, 11 also submitted dynamic modelling results. These results predict soil and/or water chemistry of any set of national emission projections ranging between current legislation and maximum feasible reduction techniques. This enables future use in integrated assessment.
With regard to land cover, a new harmonised land-cover map is introduced here together with a range of applications. These include the use by the CCE to update its background database, which now allows the calculation of critical loads for acidification and eutrophication in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA).