Topic report 25/96


Steinar Larssen and Leif Otto Hagen

European Topic Centre on Air Quality

November 1996

This report was prepared under the supervision of G. Kielland, Project Manager,
European Environment Agency

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Air pollution monitoring data from 21 European countries available up to 1994 at the European Topic Centre on Air Quality in 1985 are summarised. These data are taken from the Community’s APIS database and national reports for SO2, NO2, black smoke, SPM/TSP/PM10, O3, CO and Pb. Exeedances of EU Guide Values and WHO Guideline Values are summarised for each country.

Table of contents




1. Introduction


2. Aim and Scope of this Report


3. Eu Exchange of Data Requirements


4. Air Quality Limit Values


5. Data sources

5.1 APIS and EoI data bases

5.2 Other sources of country-specific data

5.3 Other sources of data

5.4 Total extent of data used in this report


6. Air Quality and Deposition Summaries, Local and Regional Air Pollution

6.1 Sulphur compounds

6.1.1 Behaviour, effects, emissions
6.1.2 Air Quality Limit and Guide Values
6.1.3 Urban and Local SO2 concentrations
6.1.4 Regional sulphur oxides concentrations and deposition

6.2 Nitrogen compounds

6.2.1 Behaviour, effects, emissions
6.2.2 Air Quality Limit and Guide Values
6.2.3 Urban and local NO2 concentrations
6.2.4 Regional nitrogen compound concentrations and deposition

6.3 Black smoke (BS)

6.3.1 Behaviour, effects, emissions
6.3.2 Air Quality Limits and Guide Values
6.3.3 Urban and local black smoke concentrations

6.4 Suspended particulates (TSP/SPM)

6.4.1 Behaviour, effects, emissions
6.4.2 Air Quality Limit and Guide Values
6.4.3 Urban and local TSP/SPM concentrations

6.5 Ozone (O3)

6.5.1 Behaviour, effects, emissions
6.5.2 Air Quality Limit and Guide Values
6.5.3 Extent of data and monitoring stations
6.5.4 O3 concentrations in Europe 1994
6.5.5 O3 exceedances in Europe 1994
6.5.6 Summer smog episodes in 1994
6.5.7 Trend 1989-1993

6.6. Lead

6.6.1 Behaviour, effects, emissions
6.6.2 Air Quality Limit and Guide Values
6.6.3 Urban and local Pb concentrations

6.7 Carbon monoxide (CO)

6.7.1 Behaviour, effects, emissions
6.7.2 Air Quality Limit and Guide Values
6.7.3 Urban and local CO concentrations


An overview of air quality in Europe for 1993 is presented. The overview covers air pollution levels on the urban/local and regional scales.

The intention of such reports from the European Topic Centre for Air Pollution is to present comprehensive, annual summaries of European air pollution, covering all components of interest, all scales and trends. The precondition for presenting such summaries is that data from representative stations throughout Europe is made available and collected in a data base. Presently, APIS (Air Pollution Information System) is the only international (EU) data base covering pollution on the urban/local scale. Only a few EU countries report data to APIS on a regular basis. Regarding the regional scale, the EMEP data base is regularly updated with data from 92 stations in 26 countries.

The Topic Centre on Air quality is working to develop further the data bases on the European scale, and to define a "European Air Quality Network" which should cover the regions and scales of European air pollution in a representative way. For this 1993 report, the Topic Centre had to resort to the fairly limited amount of data which were available in the APIS/EoI base after a special update which took place in the fall of 1995, as part of the Topic Centre activities.

The following 7 compounds are included in this report: Sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, black smoke, suspended particles, ozone, lead and CO. The ozone data are from 1994, not from 1993. The 1994 data had previously been collected by the Topic Centre on Air quality in preparation of their report to the Commission on the occurrence of exceedances of ozone threshold values for 1994.

This draft pilot report is based upon the data available for 1993 (including winter 1993-94) in APIS and on EoI data files, and upon data contained in national reports which were available to the ETC-AQ. Data were available for a total of 21 countries, of which the APIS provided data from 6 countries, EoI for 4 additional countries, and national reports from 11 additional countries. Even for many of these countries, the information available cannot be said to be complete. The data and information on regional concentrations, and their evaluation, is based upon the EMEP report for 1993.

The extent of data available on local and urban pollution is not large enough to fully characterise European air quality on this scale. At this stage, the presentations and summarising in the report should be considered as a first cut on how European air quality can be presented and summarised.

The available data show that for all compounds on the local/urban scale, concentrations are highest in Central and South Europe. East Europe is represented only by data from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and local concentration from those countries are on the high side. The available data show that EU Limit values for SO2 and black smoke are still exceeded in some European cities. The EU and WHO Guide values are extensively exceeded for SO2, NO2, black smoke and suspended particles, and WHO Guidelines for CO are also exceeded.

The spatial distribution of the regional concentrations and deposition of sulphur and nitrogen compounds in Europe is well known from the EMEP work, based on measurements and modelling. The highest long-term SO2 levels occur in Central Europe (Czech Republic and neighbouring areas), while maximum of sulphate in aerosol and sulphate deposition occurs further to the east. Long-term regional NO2 concentrations peak over the Iberian peninsula, while nitrate deposition has maximum in Central Europe.

The EU threshold values for ozone for protection of human health and vegetation were exceeded substantially in 1994 in all EU Member States which provided data. The threshold values for information and warning of the population were exceeded during a limited number of days. The warning level was reported exceeded at three monitoring stations.

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