Find content across the European environment - state and outlook 2010
Consumption is defined as production plus imports minus exports of controlled substances under the Montreal Protocol.
Production is defined under Article 1(5) of the Montreal Protocol as production minus the amount destroyed minus the amount entirely used as feedstock in the manufacture of other chemicals.
Concentrations of BOD and total ammonium have decreased in European rivers in the period 1992 to 2011 (Fig. 1), mainly due to general improvement in wastewater treatment.
See also WISE interactive maps: Mean annual BOD in rivers and Mean annual Total Ammonium in rivers
Average nitrate concentrations in European groundwaters increased from 1992 to 1998, but have declined again since 2005.
On average, the nitrate concentration in European rivers declined by 0.5 mg N/l over the period 1992 to 2011 (20% relative to the average concentration), reflecting the effect of measures to reduce agricultural inputs of nitrate as well as improvement in wastewater treatment.
Average orthophosphate concentrations in European rivers have decreased markedly over the last two decades- On average concentrations declined by 0.08 mg P/l between 1992 and 2011 (72% decrease relative to the average concentration). Also average lake phosphorus concentration decreased over the period 1992-2011 (on average by 0.008 mg P/l, or 27% relative to the average concentration). The decrease in phosphorus concentrations reflects both improvement in wastewater treatment and reduction in phosphorus in detergents.
Overall, reductions in the levels of freshwater nutrients over the last two decades primarily reflect improvements in wastewater treatment. Emissions from agriculture continue to be a significant source.
The quality of water at designated bathing waters in Europe (coastal and inland) has improved significantly since 1990.
Compliance with mandatory values (or at least sufficient quality) in EU coastal bathing waters increased from just below 80 % in 1990 to 95.3 % in 2012. Compliance with guide values (or excellent quality) likewise rose from over 68 % to 81.2 % in 2012.
Compliance with mandatory values (or at least sufficient quality) in EU inland bathing waters increased from over 52 % in 1990 to 91% in 2012. Similarly, the rate of compliance with guide values (or excellent quality) moved from over 36 % in 1990 to 72 % in 2012.
Three independent long term records of global average near-surface (land and ocean) annual temperature show that the decade between 2003 and 2012 was 0.76°C to 0.81°C warmer than the pre-industrial average.
Between 1990 and 2010, the rate of change in global average temperature has been close to the 0.2°C per decade.
Global mean surface temperature rose rapidly from the 1970s, but has been relatively flat in the last decade mostly due to heat transfer between upper and deep ocean waters.
The Arctic has warmed significantly more than the rest of the globe, and this is projected to continue into the future.
The best estimate for the further rise in global average temperature at the end of 21st century is between 1.8 and 4.0°C for the lowest and highest SRES marker scenarios (IPCC SRES) that assume no additional political measures to limit emissions. When climate model uncertainties are taken into account, the likely range increases to 1.1 to 6.4 °C. The EU target of limiting global average temperature increase to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels is projected to be exceeded during the second half of this century and likely around 2050, for all six IPCC SRES scenarios.
The average temperature for the European land area for the last decade (2003-2012) is 1.3°C above the pre-industrial level, which makes it the warmest on record.
Climate simulations from different regional climate models all using A1B SRES scenario show that the annual average land temperature over Europe will continue to increase by more than global average temperature during the 21 st century. By the 2021-2050 period, temperature increases of between 1.0°C and 2.5°C are projected, and by 2071-2100 this increases to between 2.5°C and 4.0°C.
The largest temperature increase during 21 st century is projected over eastern and northern Europe in winter and over Southern Europe in summer.
Extremes of cold have become less frequent in Europe while warm extremes have become more frequent. Since 1880 the average length of summer heat waves over Western Europe doubled and frequency of hot days almost tripled.
Land take by the expansion of residential areas and construction sites is the main cause of the increase in the coverage of urban land at the European level. Agricultural zones and, to a lesser extent, forests and semi-natural and natural areas, are disappearing in favour of the development of artificial surfaces. This affects biodiversity since it decreases habitats, the living space of a number of species, and fragments the landscapes that support and connect them. The annual land take in European countries assessed by 2006 Corine land cover project (EEA39 except Greece) was approximately 108 000 ha/year in 2000-2006. In 21 countries covered by both periods (1990-2000 and 2000-2006) the annual land take decreased by 9 % in the later period. The composition of land taken areas changed, too. More arable land and permanent crops and less pastures and mosaic farmland were taken by artificial development then in 1990-2000. Identified trends are expected to change little when next assessment for 2006-2012 becomes available in 2014.
In 2011, EU-27 greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 3.3 % compared to 2010. This was mainly due to the milder winter of 2011 in many countries, leading to lower heating demand from the residential and commercial sectors. In general, emissions from natural gas combustion fell, while emissions resulting from solid fuel consumption increased due to higher coal consumption in 2011 compared to 2010 levels.
This decrease in emissions continues the overall decreasing trend since 2004, with the exception of 2010, when emissions temporarily increased due to increased economic growth in many countries coupled with a colder winter. With respect to 1990 levels, EU‑27 emissions have decreased by 18.4 % ( Figure 1 ). At a sectoral level, emissions decreased in all main emitting sectors except transport and production and consumption of fluorinated gases (F-gases), where they increased considerably in percentage terms. CO 2 emissions from public electricity and heat production decreased by 15.9% compared to 1990.
In the EU-15, 2011 GHG emissions decreased by 4.2 % compared to 2010 – a decrease of 159.6 Mt CO 2 - eq in absolute values. This implies that EU‑15 greenhouse gas emissions were approximately 14.7 % below the 1990 level in 2011 or 14.9 % below the base-year level. CO 2 emissions from public electricity and heat production are also decreased by 9.3% with respect to 1990. The European Union remains well on track to achieve its Kyoto Protocol target (an 8% reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions compared to base-year level, to be achieved during the period from 2008 to 2012). A detailed assessment of progress towards Kyoto targets and 2020 targets in Europe is provided in the EEA's 2012 report on Greenhouse gas emission trends and projections and will be updated in October 2013.
In 2010, the highest concentrations of oxidized nitrogen were found in the Baltic Sea, in the Gulf of Riga and Kiel Bay, and in Belgian, Dutch and German coastal waters in the Greater North Sea. Reported stations in the Northern Spanish and Croatian coastal waters also showed high concentration levels. The highest orthophosphate concentrations were found in the Baltic Sea, in the Gulf of Riga and Kiel Bay, and in Irish, Belgian, Dutch and German coastal waters in the Greater North Sea. Coastal stations along Northern Spain and Southern France also showed high concentration levels.
Between 1985 and 2010, overall nutrient concentrations have been either stable or decreasing in stations reported to the EEA in the Greater North Sea, Celtic Seas and in the Baltic Sea. However, this decrease has been more pronounced for nitrogen. Assessments for the overall Mediterranean and Black Sea regions were not possible, data only being available for stations in France and Croatia.
For oxidized nitrogen concentrations, 14% of all the reported stations showed decreasing trends, whereas only 2% showed increasing trends. Decreases were most evident in the Baltic Sea (coastal waters of Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, and open waters) and in southern part of the coast of the Greater North Sea. Increasing trends were mainly found in Croatian coastal stations.
For orthophosphate concentrations, 10% of all the reported stations showed a decrease. This was most evident in coastal and open water stations in the Greater North Sea, and in coastal stations in the Baltic Sea. Increasing orthophosphate trends, observed in 6% of the reported stations, were mainly detected in Irish, Danish and Finnish coastal waters (Gulf of Finland and Gulf of Bothnia) and in open waters of the Baltic Proper.
In 2010, the highest summer chlorophyll-a concentrations were observed in coastal areas and estuaries where nutrient concentrations are also generally high (see CSI 021 Nutrients in transitional, coastal and marine waters). These include the Gulf of Riga, Gulf of Gdansk, Gulf of Finland and along the German coast in the Baltic Sea, coastal areas in Belgium and The Netherlands in the Greater North Sea and in few locations along the coast of Ireland and France in the Celtic Seas and Bay of Biscay, respectively. High chlorophyll concentrations were also observed along the Gulf of Lions and in Montenegro coastal waters in the Mediterranean Sea, and along Romanian coastal waters in the Black Sea. Low summer chlorophyll concentrations were mainly observed in the Kattegat and open sea stations in the Greater North Sea, and in open sea stations in southern Baltic Sea.
Between 1985 to 2010, decreasing chlorophyll concentrations (showed in 8% of all the stations in the European seas reported to the EEA) were predominantly found along the southern coast of the Greater North Sea, along the Finnish coast in the Bothnian Bay in the Baltic Sea and in a few stations in the Western Mediterranean Sea and Adriatic Sea. In the Black Sea, it was not possible to make an overall assessment due to the lack of time series data. Increasing concentrations (observed in 5% of the reported stations) were generally observed in coastal locations in the Northern Baltic Sea but also in the open sea stations outside the north of the Celtic Seas. Most stations (87%) however showed no changes over time.