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Highlight Every breath we take – Signals 2013 focuses on air quality in Europe
Poor air quality can have serious impacts on our health and the environment. How is Europe’s air quality? What are the main sources of air pollutants? How do they affect our health and the environment? What does Europe do to improve air quality? The new edition of the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) Signals takes a closer look.
Located in News
Indicator Assessment Exceedance of air quality limit values in urban areas (CSI 004) - Assessment published Aug 2010
Particulate Matter (PM 10 ) In the period 1997-2008, 18-50 % of the urban population was potentially exposed to ambient air concentrations of particulate matter (PM 10 ) in excess of the EU limit value set for the protection of human health (50 microgram /m 3 daily mean not be exceeded more than 35 days a calendar year); (Figure 1). Nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 ) In the period 1997-2008, 6-41 % of the urban population was potentially exposed to ambient air nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 ) concentrations above the EU limit value set for the protection of human health (40 microgram NO 2 /m 3 annual mean). There was a slight downwards trend over the period (Figure 1). Ozone (O 3 ) In the period 1997-2008, 13-62 % of the urban population in Europe was exposed to ambient ozone concentrations exceeding the EU target value set for the protection of human health (120 microgram O 3 /m 3 daily maximum 8-hourly average, not to be exceeded more than 25 times a calendar year by 2010). The 62 % of the urban population exposed to ambient ozone concentrations over the EU target value was recorded in 2003, which was the record year. There was no discernible trend over the period (Figure 1). Sulphur dioxide (SO 2 ) In the period 1997-2008, the fraction of the urban population in EEA-32 member countries that is potentially exposed to ambient air concentrations of sulphur dioxide in excess of the EU limit value set for the protection of human health (125 microgram SO 2 /m 3 daily mean not to be exceeded more than three days a year), decreased to less than 1 %, and as such the EU limit value set is close to being met everywhere in the urban background (Figure 1).
Located in Data and maps Indicators Exceedance of air quality limit values in urban areas
Figure File Exceedances of air quality objectives due to traffic
The maps shows the mean and background concentrations of NO2, PM10 and PM2.5 observed at traffic stations in 2011
Located in Data and maps Maps and graphs AirBase - Exchange of information
Indicator Assessment Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone (CSI 005) - Assessment published May 2012
Eutrophication The magnitude of the risk of ecosystem eutrophication and its geographical coverage has diminished only slightly over the years. The predictions for 2010 and 2020 indicate that the risk is still widespread over Europe. This is in conflict with the EU's long-term objective of not exceeding critical loads of airborne acidifying and eutrophying substances in sensitive ecosystem areas (National Emission Ceilings Directive, 6th Environmental Action Programme, Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution). Acidification The situation has considerably improved and it is predicted to improve further. The interim environmental objective for 2010 (National Emission Ceilings Directive) will most likely not be met completely. However, the European ecosystem areas where the critical load will be exceeded is predicted to have declined by more than 80 % in 2010 with 1990 as a base year. By 2020, it is expected that the risk of ecosystem acidification will only be an issue at some hot spots, in particular at the border area between the Netherlands and Germany. Ozone (O 3 ) Most vegetation and agricultural crops are exposed to ozone levels exceeding the long-term objective given in the EU Air Quality Directive. A significant fraction is also exposed to levels above the 2010 target value defined in the Directive. Concentrations in 2008 were on the average higher than in 2007. The effect-related accumulated concentrations, addressing exposure of crops to ozone over several summer months, shows large year-to-year variations, there is a non-significance tendency to increase.  
Located in Data and maps Indicators Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone
Indicator Assessment Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone (CSI 005) - Assessment published Nov 2012
Eutrophication The magnitude of the risk of ecosystem eutrophication and its geographical coverage has diminished only slightly over the years. The predictions for 2010 and 2020 indicate that the risk is still widespread over Europe. This is in conflict with the EU's long-term objective of not exceeding critical loads of airborne acidifying and eutrophying substances in sensitive ecosystem areas (National Emission Ceilings Directive, 6th Environmental Action Programme, Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution). Acidification The situation has considerably improved and it is predicted to improve further. The interim environmental objective for 2010 (National Emission Ceilings Directive) will most likely not be met completely. However, the European ecosystem areas where the critical load will be exceeded is predicted to have declined by more than 80 % in 2010 with 1990 as a base year. By 2020, it is expected that the risk of ecosystem acidification will only be an issue at some hot spots, in particular at the border area between the Netherlands and Germany. Ozone (O 3 ) Most vegetation and agricultural crops are exposed to ozone levels exceeding the long term objective given in the EU Air Quality Directive. A significant fraction is also exposed to levels above the 2010 target value defined in the Directive. Concentrations in 2009 were on the average lower than in 2008. The effect-related accumulated concentrations, addressing exposure of crops to ozone over several summer months, shows large year-to-year variations. Over the period 1996-2009 there is a tendency to increased exposure, although this development has not proven to be statistically significant.  
Located in Data and maps Indicators Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone
Figure Exposure of European agricultural areas to ozone (AOT40)
The map shows the Ozone AOT40 for crops, reference year 2010
Located in Data and maps Maps and graphs
Publication Feasibility study: Modelling environmental concentrations of chemicals from emission data
Located in Publications
Highlight Fewer summer ozone peaks in 2012, but levels still harmful
Ozone pollution still exceeded target levels in Europe during summer 2012, but the number of exceedances of the alert threshold was lower than in any year since monitoring started in 1997. However, almost all EU Member States failed to keep levels of the pollutant within targets set to protect human health.
Located in News
Publication Forests, health and climate change
Urban green spaces, forests for cooler cities and healthier people
Located in Publications
File Giving Europe more breathing space
Air pollution has been one of Europe’s main concerns since the late 1970s. Over the last few decades, the rapid growth in industry and increased reliance on cars and public transport has contributed to a rapid decline in air quality, from smog and acid rain to asthma and other respiratory diseases.
Located in Environmental topics Air pollution Multimedia
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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