2. the metadatabase

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2. THE METADATABASE

2.1. Metadatabase structure

The metadatabase was constructed using Microsoft Access software. This was selected because it is potentially compatible with the databases on which the metadatabase is based and can be run on most standard business machines.

The metadatabase is structured to minimise duplication of data. Figure 2.1 shows the major component data tables in the database.

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Figure .1 Schematic representation of the major elements of the metadatabase structure


The information is held in five tables:

European databases: This table holds the main information for each database, including:

  • the name of the database;
  • the organisation/s responsible for data collection and data management;
  • the platform in which data are collected (reports and/or computer system);
  • availability of data; and
  • other specific comments such as different phases of the programme or actual status, it also contains the information of the type of sampling site.

Countries covered by database: This table holds the history of monitoring for each database by country. This allows the following lists to be produced:

  • countries (inside and outside of the EEA area) where monitoring has been carried out;
  • the number of sites where sampling has been undertaken in each country according to five different types of water bodies (rivers, lakes, marine water, estuaries, groundwater);
  • and the number of years of sampling per country.
  •  

Named sampling areas: This table contains:

  • the name of the areas, regions or water bodies where sampling has been undertaken; and
  • the country where each area is situated.

Database detail: This table contains the information of the determinands measured in each database. Each determinand is expressed as:

  • its name;
  • the statistic held in the database;
  • the number of years sampling has been carried out and the year it began; and
  • the unit in which the determinand is held, together with comments related to the information given for specific sites.

Other information: This table holds data related to freshwater quality and quantity, for example, climatic information (precipitation, atmospheric temperature, etc.), land uses, and soil types.

The terms held in the metadatabase tables exactly match those reported in each database to avoid inconsistencies. The data in the tables draw their data from many different and disparate data sources and as a result different definitions are used (e.g. for parameters measured, areas covered etc.). To solve this problem a number of look-up tables have been created in order to standardise, as far as possible, the information held. These are described in Sections 3 to 6.


2.2. Scope of Metadatabase

Information covering around 20 databases has been identified and collected. These fall into a number of broad categories:

  • those produced from monitoring schemes derived to support EC legislatio;
  • those related to international conventions based in Europe; and
  • those related to international conventions based outside Europe

The picture is further complicated by the fact that some organisations implement several monitoring programmes and produce a number of databases under the same umbrella. This is true of organisations like the Oslo and Paris Commission which produce databases related to specific topics such as pollution by mercury and from the titanium dioxide industry.

Table A.1 and A.2 in Appendix A lists names and addresses of organisations that were consulted for information on each monitoring programme and associate database. Details of those who may be contacted for further information on a specific programme are also included.


2.2.1. Databases Derived from EU Legislation and International Conventions.

Following the adoption of the Exchange of Information Decision (77/795/EEC as amended by Decision 86/574/EEC), the state of 77 rivers in the EU has been monitored annually. The European Commission has prepared a summary report based on information submitted by each Member State every three years since 1987. The European Commission also maintains databases relating to the quality of designated waters under the Bathing Waters Directive (76/160/EEC), Freshwater Fish Directive (78/659/EEC) and the Shellfish Waters Directive (79/923/EEC).

Some of the monitoring programmes included in the metadatabase come from one international agreement or convention, but have been divided into different records in the metadatabase according to their different type of data (e.g. the record on PARCOM activities is different from that on the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) and the different international programmes from the UN/ECE Convention on the Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution each have different records).

Monitoring of European coastal and marine waters and the assessment of land-based sources are undertaken by organisations such as the Helsinki Commission (which monitors the Baltic Sea area), the Paris Commission (which monitors the Northeast Atlantic Ocean), the North Sea Task Force (which monitors the North Sea) and the Mediterranean Action Plan Co-ordination Unit (which monitors the Mediterranean Sea).

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Environmental Data Bank was established to support ICES’ own scientific needs as well as in support of the monitoring programmes of the Oslo and Paris Commissions (OSPAR) and the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP). ICES has also provided advice on data handling and data assessment to the Helsinki Commission as well. All 19 ICES member countries have contributed to the data bank that in October 1996 covered data from 1977 to 1995.

The effects of air pollutants on the quality of surface water and groundwater are assessed under the International Co-operative Programmes (ICP) guidelines. Five ICP programmes started in the 1980’s within the UN/ECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP). The ICP on Assessment and Monitoring on Rivers and Lakes (LRTAP/ICP-Waters) relating to water quality in Europe is included in the metadatabase an "effect programmes", and holds data from 103 riverine sites and 63 lentic sites. In 1988 a UN/ECE International Pilot Programme on Integrated Monitoring began which ran for 4 years and was replaced by the ICP Programme on Integrated Monitoring (ICP-IM) of Air Pollution Effects on Ecosystems. This type of integrated monitoring, which aims to predict the state of the ecosystems and their long-term changes, was found to be successful following several years of assessment in surface and groundwaters. Data have been held at the Environment Data Centre in Helsinki since 1988. The metadatabase contains information on the five ICP-IM subprograms related to the quality of surface water and groundwater. The determinands required for the phase 1993-96 are also included in the metadatabase as an effect programme.

 

2.2.2. Databases derived from monitoring programmes based in Europe

The CORINE Information System was developed within the framework of the CORINE (Co-ordination of Information on the Environment) Programme 1985-1990, in order to provide information on the state of the environment in Europe. Since 1990, it has since been maintained by the EEA. In addition to the information from the CORINE Programme the database also contains data resulting from the implementation of the Bathing Waters Directive and the Exchange of Information Decisions. The data are held in an ORACLE database, which is associated with ARC/INFO GIS software which runs the CORINE Information System.

The quality of selected rivers and lakes in the EU area is also surveyed by the Statistical Office of the European Communities (EUROSTAT). Information gathered from a questionnaire sent to each EU country is held in a database built using various platforms including Microsoft Access which has been updated annually since 1970.

The EEA Task Force undertook a data compilation in order to identify and compare the environmental problems for the first State of Environment Report for Europe (the Dobris Assessment). Information on the quality of rivers and lakes was collected from a questionnaire forwarded to national focal points of European countries not only in the EEA area, but also in the east of Europe. As a result, data on water quality indicators were obtained from a total of about 700 monitoring stations in twenty-eight countries.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) publishes the OECD Environmental Data Compendium every two years containing the response to a questionnaire, sent jointly with that from EUROSTAT since 1988, from twenty-two countries. The metadatabase holds only those data related to European rivers and lakes.

The type of water sampled (freshwater, coastal water and groundwater) and the geographical coverage are the main features differentiate between the twenty-seven monitoring programmes collated in the metadatabase. Some of the organisations (e.g. the European Environment Agency Task Force or the European Commission) have collected data covering a wide range of European rivers and lakes, in the EEA and EU areas. Other organisations (such as the International Commission for the Protection of the river Rhine, the International Commission for the Protection of the river Elbe) maintain programmes concerned with the protection of a specific river or basin, e.g. monitoring of the Rhine, the Elbe or the Danube, as shown in Table 2.1.

 

2.2.3. Databases derived from monitoring programmes based outside Europe

Two of the programmes collected in the metadatabase have a world-wide coverage. These are the Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS) maintained by the World Health Organisation and the Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC) database operated under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organisation. Data from European countries, in both cases, are grouped in a "European" region. The GEMS/WATER programme is a joint UNEP/WHO/UNESCO/WMO programme on global water quality monitoring. The information on the quality of fresh and ground water is held in a database maintained in the Canada Centre for Inland Waters. The GRDC, established at the Federal Institute of Hydrology in Koblenz, Germany, maintains and updates information on water quantity of rivers.

Table .1 Summary of the databases or monitoring programmes collected in the metadatabase

Database name

Comments

AMAP/Freshwater At the Ministerial Conference in Rovaniemi, Finland, in June 1991, the Ministers from the eight Arctic countries agreed to develop an Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP). The primary objectives of the programme are the measurement of the levels of anthropogenic pollutants and assessment of their effects in relevant component parts of the Arctic environment. The assessment will include monitoring for fresh and marine waters and will be presented in status reports. As an initial priority. the AMAP will focus on persistent organic contaminants, selected heavy metals and elements and radionuclides. Ultimately, AMAP should include ecological indicators to provide a basis for the assessment of the status of the Arctic ecosystems.
AMAP/Marine At the Ministerial Conference in Rovaniemi, Finland, in June 1991, the Ministers from the eight Arctic countries agreed to develop an Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP). The primary objectives of the programme are the measurement of the levels of anthropogenic pollutants and assessment of their effects in relevant component parts of the Arctic environment. The assessment will include monitoring for fresh and marine waters and will be presented in status reports. As an initial priority. the AMAP will focus on persistent organic contaminants, selected heavy metals and elements and radionuclides. Ultimately, AMAP should include ecological indicators to provide a basis for the assessment of the status of the Arctic ecosystems.

The "Named water bodies" considered are the European coastal areas. The areas in Canada or in United States has not been considered in this metadatabase.

Table 2.1 continued

Database name

Comments

AMHY The development of the Data Base containing data from south European countries (AMHY area) is undertaken by the European AMHY (Alpine and Mediterranean Hydrology) group (Topic I), within the FRIEND (Flow Regimes from International Experimental and Network Data) research programme, as a contribution to Unesco's Fourth International Hydrological Programme.

The number of years registered is the mean record length by country, that means a total average of 25 year sampling. Although the start of analysis is registered from 1910, it does not mean a total length of 25 years per time series. There are some series beginning before 1910 and ending after 1990, while there are others which record length is shorter. Data are available, in general terms, for the last 25 years up to 1990 in almost every AMHY countries.

Baltic Monitoring Programme The Helsinki Commission's monitoring and assessment activities are mainly carried out under the Baltic Monitoring Programme (BMP), based on the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea area (Helsinki Convention, 1974/1992). Monitoring has been carried out at about 600 stations in the Baltic Sea since 1979. Heavy metals and synthetic organics are assessed in biota, as well as other biological indicators, and analysis of nutrients, physicochemical and organic pollution are undertaken in water.
Bucharest/85 In 1985 The Bucharest Danube Declaration was signed by the riparian countries with the objective of accomplishing the water quality monitoring network of the Danube river, along its border section to Germany, Austria and Slovakia.
CORINE/WATER The CORINE (COordination of INformation on the Environment) Programme was adopted in 1985 by the European Community's Council of Ministers, with the objective of gathering, co-ordinating and improving the consistency of information on the state of the environment in the European Community.

The CORINE Information System on water features contains data about 12 surface water parameters from 1066 gauging stations in meridional EC countries, during the years between 1970-85. It also contains climatological data from 4773 stations in all EC wide coverage. 49141 segments have been digitised in order to get a distribution of major surface water bodies in EC countries. The System Information contains a digital elevation model .

EC Bathing Waters Directive The Bathing Waters Directive 76/160/EEC sets standards for bathing water (fresh or sea water) quality during the bathing season in terms of physical, chemical and microbiological determinands. Monitoring requirements are defined in terms of minimum frequency, location and reference methods of analysis.

The number of sampling sites has increased with time. About 15000 sites were tested for the 1991 campaign while a total of about 17000 were tested in 1994. The total number of sampling sites have been updated to 1994 campaign.

Data from the different member states are collected in DOS format although a conversion to Access v2.0 is currently being carried out.

EC Freshwater Fish Directive The Freshwater Fish Directive 78/659/EEC sets quality objectives for designated fresh waters in order to support fish life. Two types of water are to be designated, those suitable for salmonids and those suitable for cyprinids. Objectives are based on physical and chemical determinands. Minimum monitoring frequencies and some reference methods for analysis are given.
EC Shellfish Waters Directive The Shellfish Waters Directive 79/923/EEC sets objectives for designated coastal and brackish waters in order to support shellfish. These are based on physical, chemical and microbiological determinands. Minimum monitoring frequencies are given. A separate Directive (91/492/EEC) is concerned with protecting consumers of shellfish.
Elbe/89 ICPE: International Commission for the Protection of the River Elbe. Data updated to 1993 according to the Commission Report.

Table 2.1 continued

Database name

Comments

Exchange of Information Directive Council Decisions 77/795/EEC and 86/574/EEC established a common procedure for the exchange of information on the quality of surface freshwater. It requires monitoring for specified water quality determinands at specific measuring stations (covering the main rivers in each Member State). Results of monitoring must be submitted to the Commission. Reference methods of analysis are given.
FRIEND The development of the European Water Archive (EWA) is undertaken within the FRIEND (Flow Regimes from International Experimental and Network Data) research programme, as a contribution to Unesco's Fourth International Hydrological Programme. The first phase of the project finished in 1989, and it was followed by the four-year study phase, concluding in 1993.

The EWA comprises data from the FRIEND and Alpine and Mediterranean Hydrology (AMHY) programmes. This means that some countries contribute to the EWA with data from both programmes. Nevertheless, a complete data set just for the AMHY programme is collected in this database.

The number of years registered is the mean record length by country, that means a total average of 27 year sampling.

The FRIEND project began in 1985. No assessment of the monitoring has been carried out.

Agencies of different countries have provided data to the FRIEND project free of charge as the condition it is used solely for FRIEND research. Data are available, in general terms, for the last 27 years up to 1993 for almost every FRIEND area country.

GEMS/WATER GEMS/Water was initiated in 1976 as a freshwater monitoring network. It is operated by UNEP and WHO with the support of UNESCO and WMO as part of the GEMS environmental pollution monitoring programmes. In August 1990 a new phase for GEMS/Water was approved, where long-term objectives were defined.
GRDC/WMO The GRDC database operates under the auspices of the WMO under the guidance of an international Steering Committee. It contains information of the discharges measured in 600 sites all over Europe (WMO Region 6).
HELCOM/PLCs The objective of the Pollution Load Compilations (PLCs) is to measure the direct inputs to the Baltic Sea from the land-based uses, according to the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, 1974 (Helsinki Convention). The PLC tasks have been carried out in stages: PLC-1 was a first compilation of different sets of data. The results were published in BSEP No 20. PLC-2 was a pilot programme based on the results from PLC-1. It tried to undertake a basic coverage of major direct sources of pollution. PLC-3 is the current stage of the programme, which Guidelines were prepared in 1993 aiming a better assessment of direct discharges to the Baltic Sea.
HYDABA/ICPR In 1950 the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine against Pollution (IPCR) was founded in Basle. In 1963, the International Convention (Bern Convention) detailed the tasks of the IPCR including to monitor the state of the Rhine and to prepare international conventions on chemical pollution (Rhine Convention 1976), chlorides (Bonn Convention 1976 and 1991) and thermal pollution (ICPR's work in this field is now ended). In 1987, the Rhine countries as well as the ICPR elaborated a comprehensive action programme, the Rhine Action Programme (RAP) which defined targets to be achieved by the year 2000. The ICPR has a monitoring programme which is revised regularly, the latest was published in July 1994 for 1995.

Data are held in the HYDABA database of the Federal Hydrological Institute in Koblenz.

Table 2.1 continued

Database name

Comments

ICES Environmental Data Bank

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Environmental Data Bank was established to support ICES’ own scientific needs as well as in support of the monitoring programmes of the Oslo and Paris Commissions (OSPAR-12 countries) and the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP). ICES has also provided advice on data handling and data assessment to the Helsinki Commission. All 19 ICES member countries have contributed to the data bank that in October 1996 covered data from 1977 to 1995. The following data types are included:

  • contaminants in finfish and shellfish (300,000 records);

  • contaminants in sea water (ca. 280,000 records);

  • contaminants in sediments (ca. 73,000 records);

  • data from measurements of the biological effects of contaminants (EROD and OEB (ca. 3,000 records);

  • fish disease prevalence (ca. 15,000 records);

  • quality assurance information

The database is held at ICES in Copenhagen Denmark.

IIASA/Elbe-Oder The International Institute for Applied System Analysis developed a database for the Upper Elbe/Oder River Basin based on an atmospheric deposition model, water pollution and a soil sampling programme for heavy metal pollution.
IIASA/Rhine The International Institute for Applied System Analysis developed a database for the Rhine River Basin based on aqueous and atmospheric emissions and deposition for 1955-1990.
JAMP/OSPAR94 The monitoring activities of the new OSPAR Convention 1994 will be carried out by the Environmental Assessment and Monitoring Committee (ASMO) under the Joint Assessment and Monitoring Programme (JAMP). OSPAR 1994 aims to prepare a Status Quality Report 2000 with the data from the JMP and the MMP (NSTF) collected by the year 2000.

The data held in this metadatabase come from the agreements achieved in the Joint Meeting of the Oslo and Paris Commissions in Brussels, June 1995.

Joint Monitoring Programme The Paris Convention represents the second step taken by the maritime states bordering the North East Atlantic in combating pollution of the marine environment of that region. It followed on from the Oslo Convention which deals with the control of pollution of the seas by the dumping of harmful substances. It introduced two lists of substances for control, the Black and Grey lists. Contracting countries are obliged to eliminate pollution by substances on the Black List and limit pollution by substances on the Grey List. This approach was later adopted in EC legislation. The Convention is administered by a Commission (PARCOM) which required, amongst other things, marine environmental monitoring to be undertaken. A Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) has been established with the Oslo Commission.
LRTAP/ICP-IM The Integrated Monitoring Programme (ICP IM) is part of the Effects Monitoring Strategy under the UN/ECE Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution Convention.

The Integrated Monitoring (IM) projects are implemented under the auspices of the Working Group of Environmental Monitoring Data, which is supported by the Environment Committee of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Five sub-programmes related to quality of freshwater and groundwater are being carried out:

* GW: groundwater chemistry;

* RW: runoff water chemistry;

* LC: lake water chemistry;

* RB: hydrobiology of streams;

* LB: hydrobiology of lakes.

Table 2.1 continued

Database name

Comments

LRTAP/ICP-Water The sulphur protocol to the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution of the UNECE was adopted in 1985 in Helsinki under the auspices of the ECE Protection of the Environment framework. This network has been established to evaluate long range transport and deposition of acidifying compounds.
MEDPOL Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) (Phase I 1975 - 1980) led to the long term Mediterranean Pollution Monitoring and Research Programme (MEDPOL). Phase II (1981- ) included monitoring at four levels: sources of pollution; near shore areas; offshore areas; and atmospheric transport of pollutants.

Monitoring in MEDPOL is carried out for nine different matrices (air, biota -except plankton-, effluent, plankton, precipitation, seashore, sediment, suspended matter, sea water). In this database only the determinands assessed in biota, plankton, sediment, suspended matter and sea water are recorded.

Monitoring Master Plan The North Sea Task Force was established following a Ministerial Declaration made at the second International Conference on the Protection of the North Sea held in London in November 1987. Its aim was to enhance scientific knowledge and understanding of the North Sea environment, to provide more consistent and dependable data and to permit links between contaminant inputs, concentrations and effects to be established with greater confidence. A North Sea Task Force Monitoring Master Plan (MMP) has been developed which builds on the monitoring carried out under the Joint Monitoring Programmes (JMP) of the Oslo and Paris Commissions.
PARCOM/ Mercury Paris Commission tries to reduce the Hg emissions from waste chlor-alkali plants. This record shows the state of emissions over the countries agreeing the Paris Convention updated to 31 December 1992..

There is no chlor-alkali industry in the catchment area for Denmark, Iceland and Ireland.

PARCOM/ Radioactive In 1986, the Paris Commission agreed to collect information from Contracting Parties about discharges of radioactive substances from nuclear installations in the Convention Area from 1985 onwards. Information is provided from:

* nuclear power stations;

* nuclear fuel reprocessing plants;

* nuclear fuel fabrication plants and

* research and development facilities.

PARCOM/

Refineries

The Paris Commission adopted Guidelines for discharges from new refineries in 1980. The number of refineries has decreased between 1980 and 1990.
PARCOM/ Titanium Dioxide The discharges from the titanium dioxide industry are regularly assessed over the countries agreeing the Paris Convention. There is no production of TiO2 in Denmark, Ireland, Iceland, Portugal and Sweden. Germany and Belgium have insignificant emissions, and strong acids were dumped up to 31 December 1989. Dumping continues in Spain.
Regensburg/87 In 1987 the Regensburg Agreement was signed between Austria, Germany and the EU with the objective of accomplishing the water quality monitoring network of transboundary rivers.
SIREN-IW/OECD In the Recommendations adopted on 31st January 1991 by the OECD Council, and approved by Environment Ministers, Member governments agreed to ensure the development of objective, reliable and comparable environmental statistics and information at international level.

SIREN (System of Information on Resources and the Environment) is the compilation and publication of environmental data. These data are yearly published in the OECD Environmental Data Compendium. The state of the environment is assessed for: inland waters, air, land, forest, wild life, waste, risks for human health and noise.

The Dobris Assessment Information in this Report is based on questionnaires forwarded to national focal points; various national and regional state of the environment reports; and a review of the scientific literature concerning the environmental state of European rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

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