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CCE Database (UNECE)

External Data Reference
(Exceedance of critical loads for the most sensitive ecosystems) Databases for use in the CCE Environmental Impact Assessment methodology are updated in collaboration with National Focal Centres. A "CCE background database" is used for Parties under the Convention or EC-member States that do not submit data.

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Indicators using this data

Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone This indicator shows the negative impact of air pollution on ecosystems and vegetation in Europe. In particular, it shows: Ecosystem areas with exceedances of the critical loads for acidification and eutrophication; and Exposure of areas covered with vegetation (crops and forests) to ground-level ozone; last year rural concentrations of ozone; and the annual variation at the European level of the rural concentrations of ozone.   In the case of acidification and eutrophication, the area as well as the magnitude of critical loads exceedances in ecosystems are shown. A critical load is a quantitative estimate of an exposure to one or more pollutants, below which significant harmful effects on specified sensitive elements of the environment do not occur according to present knowledge (ICP on Modelling and Mapping, 2015; UNECE, 2015). It represents the upper limit of one or more pollutants, deposited to the Earth's surface, that an ecosystem, such as a lake or a forest, can tolerate without being damaged in its function (for example, the nutrient nitrogen cycle) or its structure (for example, with respect to plant species' richness). A positive difference between the deposition loads of acidifying and/or eutrophying airborne pollutants and the critical loads is termed an 'exceedance'. In the case of ozone, the risk is estimated by reference to the 'critical level' for ozone for each location. This is a concentration of ozone in the atmosphere, above which direct adverse effects on receptors, such as human beings, plants, ecosystems or materials, may occur according to present knowledge (ICP on Modelling and Mapping, 2015; UNECE, 2015). 
Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone The indicator shows the ecosystem or crops areas at risk of exposure to harmful effects of ozone as a consequence of air pollution, and shows the state of change in acidification, eutrophication and ozone levels of the European environment. The risk is estimated by reference to the 'critical level' for ozone for each location, this being a quantitative estimate of the exposure to these pollutants below which significant and harmful effects do not occur in the long term at present knowledge. The fraction of agricultural crops that is potentially exposed to ambient air concentrations of ozone in excess of the EU target value and long-term objective set for the protection of vegetation is also shown. Eutrophication and acidification Critical loads of acidity and of nutrient nitrogen are employed to describe exposure to acidification and to eutrophication for forests and semi-natural areas in Europe, including Natura 2000 sites. The area where the deposition of acidifying and eutrophying pollutants is in exceedance of critical loads provides also an indication of the extent of European ecosystem area which is at risk of damage to biodiversity. By analysing the change of exceedances over time (comparative static analysis) an indication of the effects of changing air pollutant emissions over time is obtained. The magnitude of the exceedance (deposition minus critical load) is an important input to the dynamic modelling of time delays in damage. Inversely, once critical loads are no longer exceeded, recovery may take some time as well. By including the risk to be met within a legislative target and year the distance from this target can be evaluated. Ozone AOT40 is 'Accumulated ozone exposure over a threshold of 40 ppb'. The indicator shows the ecosystem or crop areas at risk of exposure to harmful levels of ozone as a consequence of air pollution. The risk is estimated by referring to the 'critical level' of ozone for sensitive areas. Thus, the indicator is a quantitative estimate of the exposure to ozone below which significant and harmful effects do not occur in the long term according to present knowledge. The fraction of agricultural crops that is potentially exposed to ambient air concentrations of ozone in excess of the EU target value set for the protection of vegetation is also shown.

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