Personal tools

Notifications
Get notifications on new reports and products. Frequency: 3-4 emails / month.
Subscriptions
Sign up to receive our reports (print and/or electronic) and quarterly e-newsletter.
Follow us
Twitter icon Twitter
Facebook icon Facebook
YouTube icon YouTube channel
RSS logo RSS Feeds
More

Write to us Write to us

For the public:


For media and journalists:

Contact EEA staff
Contact the web team
FAQ

Call us Call us

Reception:

Phone: (+45) 33 36 71 00
Fax: (+45) 33 36 71 99


next
previous
items

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Sound and independent information
on the environment

You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Nutrients in transitional, coastal and marine waters / Nutrients in transitional, coastal and marine waters (CSI 021) - Assessment published Jul 2011

Nutrients in transitional, coastal and marine waters (CSI 021) - Assessment published Jul 2011

Topics: , ,

Generic metadata

Topics:

Water Water (Primary topic)

Coasts and seas Coasts and seas

Tags:
soer2010 | thematic assessments | nitrogen | nutrients | water | marine and coastal | phosphates | csi | marine
DPSIR: State
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 021
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1985-2008
 
Contents
 

Key policy question: Are nutrient concentrations in our surface waters decreasing?

Key messages

  • Decreasing nutrient concentrations were found in the North Sea and in the Baltic Sea. In the Mediterranean and Black Sea, the lack of temporally and spatially comprehensive time series does not allow an overall assessment.
  • In 2008, the highest concentrations of oxidized nitrogen were found in the Gulf of Riga, and in Lithuanian, Swedish, German, Belgian, and Scottish coastal waters. Between 1985 and 2008, 12% of all the stations in the European seas reported to the EEA showed decreasing trends of oxidized nitrogen concentrations. These trends were more evident in the open Baltic Sea and in the Dutch and German coastal waters in the North Sea.
  • In 2008, the highest orthophosphate concentrations were found at Finnish coastal stations in the Gulf of Finland, the Gulf of Riga, German, Belgian, French, and Scottish coastal waters. Between 1985 and 2008, 15% of all the stations in the European seas reported to the EEA showed a decrease in orthophosphate concentrations, mainly because of improved waste water treatment. This decrease was most evident in Norwegian, Lithuanian, Danish, Belgian and Dutch coastal water stations, and in the open waters of the North and Baltic Seas.

Winter oxidized nitrogen (NO2 + NO3) concentrations in European seas in 2008

Note: The map shows the winter oxidized nitrogen concentrations in the European coastal and open waters in 2008. The low category refers to values within the lowest 20th percentile and the high category refers to values within the upper 20th percentile of concentrations in a regional sea

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Change in winter orthophosphate concentrations in coastal and open waters of the North East Atlantic, Baltic, Mediterranean and North Seas

Note: The figure shows change in winter orthophosphate concentrations in coastal and open waters of the North East Atlantic, Baltic, Mediterranean and North Seas, 1985-2008

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Winter orthophosphate concentrations in European seas in 2008

Note: The map shows the winter orthophosphate concentrations in the European coastal and open waters in 2008. The low category refers to values within the lowest 20th percentile and the high category refers to values within the upper 20th percentile of concentrations in a regional sea

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Key assessment

Baltic Sea

In 2008, the highest oxidized nitrogen concentrations (> 210 µg/l) were measured in the Gulf of Riga and in Lithuanian and Latvian coastal waters (Figure 1). Low concentrations (< 46 µg/l) were commonly observed in the southern parts of the Baltic Sea. High oxidised nitrogen concentrations in the Bothnian Bay were not reflected in chlorophyll values (see the Core Set Indicator 23), because primary production is limited by naturally low phosphate concentrations (< 5 µg/l, Figure 2). Orthophosphate concentrations were highest (> 25 µg/l) at Finnish coastal stations in the Gulf of Finland and in the Gulf of Riga (Figure 2). These high concentrations are strongly influenced by internal phosphorous loading, i.e. phosphorous released from bottom sediments during anoxic conditions.

In the Baltic Sea between 1985 and 2008 oxidised nitrogen concentrations decreased in 21% of the monitoring stations, and increased in 4% of the stations (Figure 3). Decreasing trends were detected especially in the open waters of the Baltic Proper and in addition in the Danish, Finnish, German, and Swedish coastal waters. This can be explained by decreased loading. Orthophosphate concentrations decreased in 13% of the stations and increased in 9% of the stations. Increasing orthophosphate trends were mainly detected in Finnish coastal waters, whereas decreasing trends in the open Baltic Sea, and Danish, German and Lithuanian coastal waters.

North Sea

In the North Sea, the highest winter oxidized nitrogen concentrations (> 350 µg/l) and orthophosphate concentrations (>100 µg/l) in 2008 were observed at French and Belgian coastal waters (Figures 1 & 2).

Long term time series indicate that oxidized nitrogen is decreasing at 8% of the stations and remain unchanged at 92% of the stations (Figure 2). Orthophosphate concentrations were decreasing at 28% of the North Sea stations. This can be linked especially to the Belgian and Dutch estuarine and coastal waters: At 57% of the Belgian and 75% of the Dutch monitoring stations concentrations were decreasing. This positive development can be attributed to improved waste water treatment where most North Sea countries have achieved reduction of phosphorus loading by 50% in the period 1985-2005 (OSPAR 2008). Also the open sea orthophosphate concentrations in the North Sea showed a decreasing trend at 19% of the stations.

NE Atlantic

Comprehensive assessment of winter nutrient concentrations in the NE Atlantic is not possible, because data for the year 2008 only includes observations from the French, Scottish and Northern Irish coastal waters (Figures 1 & 2). The highest oxidised nitrogen concentrations (> 100 µg/l) and orthophosphate concentrations (> 22 µg/l) were detected in the Belgian and German coastal waters.

In the NE Atlantic the time series of oxidised nitrogen concentration showed no remarkable changes. Time series of orthophosphate concentration revealed increasing trends at six Irish monitoring stations. These stations were located in the coastal waters near Dublin. Orthophosphate concentrations were decreasing at three Irish monitoring stations.

 

Mediterranean Sea

Nutrient concentrations in the open Mediterranean Sea are extremely low (UNEP 2007) and eutrophication is seen only in some coastal waters. Data for the year 2008 consisted only of Croatian and Cyprian coastal observations (Figures 1 & 2). In 2008 the highest winter oxidized nitrogen concentrations (> 1000 µg/l) in the Mediterranean were observed along the coasts of Malta. The highest orthophosphate concentrations (> 30 µg/l) were found along the western Italian coast. On the North East coast of Italy the high concentrations can be attributed to inputs from the Po River.

There were only few notable changes in nutrient concentrations: At two of the Croatian monitoring stations oxidised nitrogen concentrations were decreasing, whereas orthophosphate concentration was decreasing at one station (Figures 3 & 4). Those stations did not show any statistically significant trend.

 

Black Sea

No data of winter nutrient concentrations in 2008 has been submitted to the EEA

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Constança De Carvalho Belchior

Ownership

EEA Management Plan

2010 1.5.2 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 1 year in July-September (Q3)
Document Actions
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100