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Air pollution by ozone

Indicator Specification Created 11 Jul 2008 Published 08 Sep 2008 Last modified 04 Sep 2015, 06:59 PM
Topics: ,
Indicator codes: CLIM 006

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)


Justification for indicator selection

Tropospheric ozone is one of the air pollutants of most concern in Europe. Ozone is estimated to cause about 20 000 acute mortalities each year (European Commission, Clean Air for Europe impact assessment, 2006) and economic damage due to crop loss of EUR 4 625 million per year (Holland et al., 2006). Ozone is formed in the lower troposphere as a result of complex chemical reactions between volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides, in the presence of sunlight. EU legislation has established ozone exceedance thresholds and national emission ceilings for ozone precursor emissions to protect human health and prevent damage to ecosystems, agricultural crops and materials.
Episodes of elevated ozone levels occur mainly during periods of warm sunny weather (Schichtel and Husar, 2001; Rao et al., 2003). The projected increase in hot extremes in Europe is therefore expected to result in ozone episodes that require more vigorous emission reduction measures and the use of the available adaptation measures such as improved public information and health care services.

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

  • Modelled change in tropospheric ozone concentrations over Europe 1958-2001 and 1978-2001
  • Change in number of ozone exceedance days between 1993-1996 and 2000-2004
  • Contribution of temperature increase to the change in ozone exceedance days between 1993-1996 and 2000-2004


Policy context and targets

Context description

In April 2009 the European Commission presented a White Paper on the framework for adaptation policies and measures to reduce the European Union's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The aim is to increase the resilience to climate change of health, property and the productive functions of land, inter alia by improving the management of water resources and ecosystems. More knowledge is needed on climate impact and vulnerability but a considerable amount of information and research already exists which can be shared better through a proposed Clearing House Mechanism. The White Paper stresses the need to mainstream adaptation into existing and new EU policies. A number of Member States have already taken action and several have prepared national adaptation plans. The EU is also developing actions to enhance and finance adaptation in developing countries as part of a new post-2012 global climate agreement expected in Copenhagen (Dec. 2009). For more information see:


No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified


Methodology for indicator calculation

Methodology for gap filling

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

Data sources in latest figures


Methodology uncertainty

Data sets uncertainty

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

John Van Aardenne


Joint Research Centre (JRC)
European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
CLIM 006
Version id: 1
Primary theme: Climate change Climate change


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DPSIR: Impact
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
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