A Clean Air Programme for Europe

Policy Document
Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - "A Clean Air Programme for Europe", COM(2013) 918 final

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Related indicators

Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone This indicator shows the negative impact of air pollution on ecosystems and vegetation in Europe. In particular, it shows: ecosystem areas with exceedances of the critical loads for acidification and eutrophication; and exposure of areas covered with vegetation (crops and forests) to ground-level ozone, last year's rural concentrations of ozone, and the annual variation at the European level of rural concentrations of ozone.   In the case of acidification and eutrophication, the area as well as the magnitude of critical load exceedances in ecosystems are shown. A critical load is a quantitative estimate of an exposure to one or more pollutants, below which significant harmful effects on specified sensitive elements of the environment do not occur according to present knowledge (ICP on Modelling and Mapping, 2015; UNECE, 2015). It represents the upper limit of one or more pollutants deposited on the Earth's surface that an ecosystem, such as a lake or a forest, can tolerate without its function (e.g. the nutrient nitrogen cycle) or its structure (e.g. with respect to plant species' richness) being damaged . A positive difference between the deposition loads of acidifying and/or eutrophying airborne pollutants and the critical loads is termed an 'exceedance'. In the case of ozone, the risk is estimated by reference to the 'critical level' for ozone for each location. This is a concentration of ozone in the atmosphere, above which direct adverse effects on receptors, such as human beings, plants, ecosystems or materials, may occur according to present knowledge (ICP on Modelling and Mapping, 2015; UNECE, 2015). 
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