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Air quality map thresholds

This content has been archived on 20 Aug 2014, reason: No more updates will be done
Classification of the air quality levels for the EEA air quality reports and viewers (mandatory pollutants).

 

This is the first draft documentation on standardised categories for visualising the air quality situation in Europe within EEA viewers and reports (based on the Air Quality in Europe – 2012 report). 

 

Particulate matter (PM10)

 

The reference levels

 

20 µg/m3 (WHO[2], reference level for the annual mean)

40 µg/m3 (EU[1], limit value for human health, annual mean)

50 µg/m3 (EU[1], limit value for human health & WHO[2], reference level for the daily mean, exceeded <= 35 days/y)

 31 µg/m3 (proxy for the daily LV when translated into annual mean, source: communication with Valentin Foltescu and Frank de Leeuw)

 35 (EU[1], allowed nr of days with exceedance of 50 µg/m3 daily mean)

 

Annual statistics


  •  90.41 percentile corresponding with the 36th highest  daily value if 100% data is available [µg/m3]:

<= 20
> 20 <= 40
> 40 <= 50 (EU[1], limit value for human health & WHO[2], reference level for the daily mean)
> 50 <= 75 (nonattainment)
> 75 (nonattainment)

(the classes can be used also for presenting the 8th highest value – this AQ statistics is specified in the http://acm.eionet.europa.eu/databases/airbase/aggregation_statistics.html as included in the ‘AirBase’ statistics)

(AQ Report 2012 [6]: ‘distance-to-target’ graphs ref. to Fig. 2.2, attainment situation ref. to Fig. 2.3)

 

  • Nr of days with exceedance (with PM10 > 50 µg/m3):

= 0
> 0 <= 10
> 10 <= 35 (EU[1], allowed nr of days with exceedance of 50 µg/m3 daily mean)
> 35 <= 50 (nonattainment)
> 50 (nonattainment)

(AQ Report 2012 [6]: ref. to Fig. 2.8)

 

  • Annual mean [µg/m3]:

<= 20 (WHO[2], reference level for the annual mean)
> 20 <= 31 (proxy for the daily LV when translated into annual mean, source: communication with Valentin Foltescu and Frank de Leeuw)
> 31 <= 40 (EU[1], limit value for human health, annual mean)
> 40 <= 50 (nonattainment)
> 50 (nonattainment)

(AQ Report 2012 [6]: ref. to Map 2.1)

 

Short term statistics (UNDER DISCUSSION)

 

  • Daily mean or 24h run for UTD [µg/m3]:

Option 1:

<= 20
> 20 <= 35
> 35 <= 50 (EU[1], limit value for human health & WHO[2], reference level for the daily mean)
> 50 <= 65 (nonattainment)
> 65 (nonattainment)

(following the thresholds used in the EEA’s UTD viewer: http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/air/air-quality/map/real-time-map)

 

Option 2:

<= 15
> 15 <= 30
> 30 <= 50 (EU[1], limit value for human health & WHO[2], reference level for the daily mean)
> 50 <= 100 (nonattainment)
> 100 (nonattainment)

 (following the thresholds used in the CAQI: http://www.obsairve.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=129&lang=en)

 

Option 3:

<= 20
> 20 <= 35
> 35 <= 50 (EU[1], limit value for human health & WHO[2], reference level for the daily mean)
> 50 <= 75 (nonattainment)
> 75 (nonattainment)

(following the thresholds used in the ETC/ACM draft document:  EEA’s short-term Air Quality Indicator for UTD data at Station & City level, not published)

 

Particulate matter (PM2.5)

 

(& AEI calculated from urban background stations as 3-calendar year running annual mean)

 

The reference levels

 

10 µg/m3 (WHO[2], reference level for the annual mean)

20 µg/m3 (EU[1], limit value for human health, annual mean – to be met by 1st Jan 2020)

25 µg/m3 (EU[1], target value for human health,  annual mean – to be met by 1st Jan 2015 & WHO[2], reference level for the daily mean)

 

Annual statistics

 

  • Annual mean [µg/m3]:

(AQ report 2012 [6]: ref. to Map 2.2, ‘distance-to-target’ graphs ref. to Fig. 2.2, attainment situation ref. to Fig. 2.4)

 

Short term statistics (UNDER DISCUSSION)

 

  • Daily mean or 24h run for UTD [µg/m3]:

No reference to the WHO[2], level for the daily mean (25 µg/m3)!

Option 1:

<= 15
> 15 <= 30
> 30 <= 50
> 50 <= 100
> 100

 (following the thresholds used in the CAQI: http://www.obsairve.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=129&lang=en)

 

Option 2:

<= 10
> 10 <= 20
> 20 <= 35
> 35 <= 50
> 50

(following the thresholds used in the ETC/ACM draft document:  EEA’s short-term Air Quality Indicator for UTD data at Station & City level, not published)

 

Ozone (O3)

 

The reference levels

 

100 µg/m3 (WHO[2], reference level for the 8 hour mean)

120 µg/m3 (EU[1], limit value for human health, maximum daily eight-hour mean, exceeded <= 25 days/y, nr of days with exceedance averaged over 3 years)

120 µg/m3 (EU[1], long term objective, human health, maximum daily eight-hour mean within a calendar year)

180 µg/m3 (EU[1], information threshold)

240 µg/m3 (EU[1], alert threshold)

25 (EU[1], allowed nr of days with exceedance of 120 µg/m3 daily mean, nr of days with exceedance averaged over 3 years)

18000 µg*h/m3 (EU[1], target value of AOT40, protection of vegetation, May-July, averaged over 5 years)

6000 µg*h/m3 (EU[1], long term objective of AOT40, protection of vegetation, May-July)

10000 µg*h/m3 (Mapping Manual 2004[3], AOT40, critical level for protection of forests, April-September)

 

Annual statistics

 

  • 93.15 percentile corresponding with the 26th highest daily value (daily maximum 8-hour mean) if 100% data is available [µg/m3]:

<= 80
> 80 <= 100 (WHO[2], reference level for the 8 hour mean)
> 100 <= 120 (EU[1], limit value for human health, maximum daily eight-hour mean, exceeded <= 25 days/y, nr of days with exceedance averaged over 3 years)
> 120 <= 140 (nonattainment)
> 140 (nonattainment)

(AQ report 2012 [6]: ref. to Map 3.1, ‘distance-to-target’ graphs – ref. to Fig. 3.1, attainment situation ref. to Fig. 3.2)

 

  • Nr of days with exceedance (with O3 > 120 µg/m3):

= 0
> 0 <= 10
> 10 <= 25 (EU[1], allowed nr of days with exceedance of 120 µg/m3 maximum daily eight-hour mean, nr of days with exceedance averaged over 3 years)
> 25 <= 50 (nonattainment)
> 50 (nonattainment)

(AQ report 2012 [6]: ref. to Fig .3.4)

 

  • AOT40 – protection of vegetation & protection of forests, both 1 year and 5 years averages [µg*h/m3]:

<= 6000 (EU[1], long term objective of AOT40, protection of vegetation, May-July)
> 6000 <= 10000 (Mapping Manual 2004[3], AOT40, critical level for protection of forests, April-September)
> 10000 <= 18000 (EU[1], target value of AOT40, protection of vegetation, May-July, averaged over 5 years)
> 18000 <= 30000
> 30000

(AQ report 2012 [6]: ref. to Map 3.3 and 3.4, ‘distance-to-target’ graphs – ref. to Fig. 3.1 and 3.5)

 

  • SOMO35 (year, corrected) [µg*d/m3]:

<= 3000
> 3000 <= 6000
> 6000 <= 10000
> 10000 <= 15000
> 15000

(classification follows the one used on the map http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/ozone-somo35-2007)

 

Short term statistics (UNDER DISCUSSION)

 

  • 1h or 1h daily max for UTD [µg/m3]:

<= 60 (the threshold of 60 follows the lowest threshold used in the EEA’s UTD viewer, CAQI and ETC document)
> 60 <= 120
> 120 <= 180 (EU[1], information threshold)
> 180 <= 240 (EU[1], alert threshold)
> 240

 (all of the documents in agreement: EEA’s UTD viewer: http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/air/air-quality/map/real-time-map, CAQI: http://www.obsairve.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=129&lang=en, the ETC/ACM draft document:  EEA’s short-term Air Quality Indicator for UTD data at Station & City level, not published)

 

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)

 

The reference levels

 

40 µg/m3 (EU[1], limit value for human health & WHO[2], reference level for annual mean)

200 µg/m3 (EU[1], limit value for human health & WHO[2], reference level for hourly mean)

400 µg/m3 (EU[1], alert threshold)

18 (EU[1], allowed nr of days with exceedance of 200 µg/m3 hourly mean)

30 µg/m3 (EU[1], critical level for vegetation, annual mean, NOx expressed as µg NO2/m3)

 

Annual statistics

 

  • 99.78 percentile corresponding with the 19th highest hourly value if 100% data is available [µg/m3]:

<= 50
> 50 <= 100
> 100 <= 200 (EU[1], limit value for human health & WHO[2], reference level for hourly mean)
> 200 <= 400 (nonattainment, EU[1], alert threshold)
> 400 (nonattainment)

(AQ report 2012 [6]: ‘distance-to-target’ graphs – ref. to Fig. 4.1)

 

  • Nr of hours with exceedance (with NO2 > 200 µg/m3):

= 0
> 0 <= 9
> 9 <= 18 (EU[1], allowed nr of days with exceedance of 200 µg/m3 hourly mean)
> 18 <= 27 (nonattainment)
> 27 (nonattainment)

  • Annual mean  [µg/m3]:

<= 20
> 20 <= 30
> 30 <= 40 (EU[1], limit value for human health & WHO[2], reference level for annual mean)
> 40 <= 50 (nonattainment)
> 50 (nonattainment)

(AQ report 2012 [6]: ref. to Map 4.1, ‘distance-to-target’ graphs – ref. to Fig. 4.1 and 4.4, attainment situation ref. to Fig. 4.2)

 

Short term statistics (UNDER DISCUSSION)

 

  • 1 h for UTD [µg/m3]:

<= 50
> 50 <= 100
> 100 <= 200 (EU[1], limit value for human health & WHO[2], reference level for hourly mean)
> 200 <= 400 (nonattainment, EU[1], alert threshold)
> 400 (nonattainment)

 (all of the documents in agreement: EEA’s UTD viewer: http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/air/air-quality/map/real-time-map, CAQI: http://www.obsairve.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=129&lang=en, the ETC/ACM draft document:  EEA’s short-term Air Quality Indicator for UTD data at Station & City level, not published)

 

Sulphur dioxide (SO2)

 

The reference levels

 

20 µg/m3 (EU[1], critical level for vegetation, winter & WHO[2], reference level for daily mean)

125 µg/m3 (EU[1], limit value for human health, daily mean, exceeded <= 3 days/y)

350 µg/m3 (EU[1], limit value for human health, hourly mean, exceeded <= 24 hours/y)

500 µg/m3 (EU[1], alert threshold, 3 consecutive hours & WHO[2], reference level for 10’ mean)

24 (EU[1], allowed nr of days with exceedance of 350 µg/m3 hourly mean)

3 (EU[1], allowed nr of days with exceedance of 125 µg/m3 daily mean)

 

Annual statistics

 

  • 99.73 percentile corresponding with the 25th highest hourly value if 100% data is available [µg/m3]:

<= 100
> 100 <= 200
> 200 <= 350 (EU[1], limit value for human health, hourly mean, exceeded <= 24 hours/y)
> 350 <= 500 (nonattainment, EU[1], alert threshold, 3 consecutive hours)
> 500 (nonattainment)

(AQ report 2012 [6]: ‘distance-to-target’ graphs – ref. to Fig. 5.1)

 

  • Nr of hours with exceedance (with SO2 > 350 µg/m3):

= 0
> 0 <= 10
> 10 <= 24 (EU[1], allowed nr of days with exceedance of 350 µg/m3 hourly mean)
> 24 <= 50 (nonattainment)
> 50 (nonattainment)

  • 99.18 percentile corresponding with the 4th highest daily value if 100% data is available [µg/m3]:

<= 20 (WHO[2], reference level for daily mean)
> 20 <= 60
> 60 <= 125 (EU[1], limit value for human health, daily mean, exceeded <= 3 days/y)
> 125 <= 200 (nonattainment)
> 200 (nonattainment)

(AQ report 2012 [6]: ‘distance-to-target’ graphs – ref. to Fig. 5.1, attainment situation ref. to Fig. 5.2)

 

  • Nr of days with exceedance (with SO2 > 125 µg/m3):

= 0
> 0 <= 1
> 1 <= 3 (EU[1], allowed nr of days with exceedance of 125 µg/m3 daily mean)
> 3 <= 5 (nonattainment)
> 5 (nonattainment)

(AQ report 2012 [6]: ref. to Fig. 5.4)

 

  • Annual mean [µg/m3]:

<= 5
> 5 <= 10
> 10 <= 20
> 20 <= 25
> 25

(AQ report 2012 [6]: ref. to Map 5.1)

 

Short term statistics (UNDER DISCUSSION)

 

  • 1h or 1h daily max for UTD [µg/m3]:

Option 1:

attainment ambivalence in the 4th class !

<= 50
>50 <= 100
> 100 <= 300
> 300 <= 500 (EU[1], alert threshold, 3 consecutive hours & WHO[2], reference level for 10’ mean)
> 500 (nonattainment)

(following the thresholds used in the EEA’s UTD viewer: http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/air/air-quality/map/real-time-map)

Option 2:

<= 50
>50 <= 100
> 100 <= 350 (EU[1], limit value for human health, hourly mean, exceeded <= 24 hours/y)
> 350 <= 500 (nonattainment, EU[1], alert threshold, 3 consecutive hours & WHO[2], reference level for 10’ mean)
> 500 (nonattainment)

(following the thresholds used in the CAQI: http://www.obsairve.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=129&lang=en)

Option 3:

<= 100
> 100 <= 200
> 200 <= 350 (EU[1], limit value for human health, hourly mean, exceeded <= 24 hours/y)
> 350 <= 500 (nonattainment, EU[1], alert threshold, 3 consecutive hours & WHO[2], reference level for 10’ mean)
> 500 (nonattainment)

 

(following the thresholds used in the ETC/ACM draft document:  EEA’s short-term Air Quality Indicator for UTD data at Station & City level, not published)

 

Carbon monoxide (CO)

 

The reference levels

 

10 mg/m3 (EU[1], limit value, human health, maximum daily eight-hour mean within a calendar year)

 

Annual statistics

 

  • The highest daily maximum of running 8-hour mean [mg/m3]:

<= 1
> 1 <= 5
> 5 <= 10 (EU[1], limit value, human health, maximum daily eight-hour mean within a calendar year)
> 10 <= 15 (nonattainment)
> 15 (nonattainment)

statistics confirmed by ETC/ACM, email from Frank de Leeuw, 16/04/2013, ETC/ACM[7], page 41

(AQ report 2012 [6]: ‘distance-to-target’ graphs – ref. to Fig. 6.1, attainment situation ref. to Fig. 6.2)

 

  • Annual mean based on daily maximum 8-hour mean [mg/m3]:

<= 0.5
> 0.5 <= 1.0
> 1.0 <= 2.0
> 2.0 <= 2.5
> 2.5

(AQ report 2012 [6]: ref. to Map 6.1)

 

Short term statistics (UNDER DISCUSSION)

 

  • Daily maximum 8-hour mean and 8h run for UTD [mg/m3]:

Option 1:

<= 5
> 5 <= 7.5
> 7.5 <= 10 (EU[1], limit value, human health, maximum daily eight-hour mean within a calendar year)
> 10 <= 20 (nonattainment)
> 20 (nonattainment)

(following the thresholds used in the CAQI: http://www.obsairve.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=129&lang=en)

Option 2:

<= 5
> 5 <= 7.5
> 7.5 <= 10 (EU[1], limit value, human health, maximum daily eight-hour mean within a calendar year)
> 10 <= 15 (nonattainment)
> 15 (nonattainment)

 

(following the thresholds used in the ETC/ACM draft document:  EEA’s short-term Air Quality Indicator for UTD data at Station & City level, not published)

Benzene (C6H6)

 

The reference levels

 

5 µg/m3 (EU[1], limit value, human health, annual mean)

 

Annual statistics

 

  • Annual mean [µg/m3]:

<= 1.7 (WHO reference, as specified by ETC/ACM[5], calculated for excess lifetime risk level of 10-5)
> 1.7 <= 2 (lower assessment threshold in AQD)
> 2 <= 3.5 (upper assessment threshold in AQD)
> 3.5 <= 5 (EU[1], limit value, human health, annual mean)
> 5 (nonattainment)


(AQ report 2012 [6]: ref. to Map 8.1, ‘distance-to-target’ graphs ref. to Fig. 8.1, attainment situation ref. to Fig. 8.2), recommended by the ETC/ACM (Cristina Guerreiro, Frank de Leeuw, email correspondence from 11/04/2013)

 

 

Heavy metals (As, Cd, Ni and Pb)

 

The reference levels

 

As: 6 ng/m3 (EU[4], limit value, human health, annual mean)

Cd: 5 ng/m3 (EU[4], limit value, human health, annual mean & WHO[2], reference level)

Ni: 20 ng/m3 (EU[4], limit value, human health, annual mean)

Pb: 500 ng/m3 (EU[4], limit value, human health, annual mean & WHO[2], reference level)

 

Annual statistics

 

  • Annual mean [ng/m3], As:

 

<= 1
> 1 <= 3
> 3 <= 6 (EU[4], limit value, human health, annual mean)
> 6 <= 9 (nonattainment)
> 9 (nonattainment)

  • Annual mean [ng/m3], Cd:

 

<= 1
> 1 <= 2
> 2 <= 5 (EU[4], limit value, human health, annual mean & WHO[2], reference level)
> 5 <= 8 (nonattainment)
> 8 (nonattainment)

  • Annual mean [ng/m3], Ni:

 

<= 5
> 5 <= 10
> 10 <= 20 (EU[4], limit value, human health, annual mean)
> 20 <= 30 (nonattainment)
> 30 (nonattainment)

  • Annual mean [ng/m3], Pb:

 

<= 20
> 20 <= 100
> 100 <= 500 (EU[4], limit value, human health, annual mean & WHO[2], reference level)
> 500 <= 1000 (nonattainment)
> 1000 (nonattainment)

(AQ report 2012 [6]: ref. to Map 7.1)

 

  

Benzo(a)pyrene (BaP)

 

The reference levels

 

1 ng/m3 (EU[4], target value, human health, annual mean)

 

Annual statistics

 

  • Annual mean [ng/m3]:

<= 0.12 (WHO reference, as specified by ETC/ACM[5], calculated for excess lifetime risk level of 10-5)
> 0.12 <= 0.4 (lower assessment threshold in AQD)
> 0.4 <= 0.6 (upper assessment threshold in AQD)
> 0.6 <= 1.0 (EU[4], target value, human health, annual mean)
> 1.0 (nonattainment)

(AQ report 2012 [6]: ref. to Map 8.2, ‘distance-to-target’ graphs ref. to Fig. 8.4, attainment situation ref. to Fig. 8.5), recommended by the ETC/ACM (Cristina Guerreiro, Frank de Leeuw, email correspondence from 11/04/2013)

 

 

Sources

1. EU, 2008, Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe (OJ L 152, 11.6.2008, p. 1–44).

2. WHO, 2008, Air quality and health — Fact sheet no 313 — Updated August 2008 (http://www.WHO.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs313/en/), accessed 9 January 2013.

3. Mapping Manual 2004, Chapter III Mapping Critical Levels for Vegetation (http://icpvegetation.ceh.ac.uk/manuals/documents/Ch%203%20revised%20summer%202010,%20updated%20June%202011.pdf), accessed 30 April 2013

4. EU, 2004, Directive 2004/107/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 2004 relating to arsenic, cadmium, mercury, nickel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in ambient air (OJ L 23, 26.1.2005, p. 3–16).

5. ETC/ACM Technical Paper 2011/3 (http://acm.eionet.europa.eu/docs/ETCACM_TP_2011_3_evaluation_AQ_LT_TV.pdf), accessed 15 May 2013

6. Air Quality in Europe - 2012 report, EEA Report No4/2012 (http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/air-quality-in-europe-2012), accessed 17 June 2013

7. ETC/ACM Technical Paper 2011/1, (http://acm.eionet.europa.eu/docs/ETCACM_TP_2011_1_eoi2010_2009aqdata.pdf), accessed 17 June 2013

 

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