Nitrogen emissions to the air

​​Nitrogen emissions to the air in the Baltic Sea area

HELCOM Baltic Sea Environment Fact Sheet 2016, Published: 28 November 2016

Author: Jerzy Bartnicki and Anna Benedictow, EMEP MSC-W

 

Key message

In all HELCOM Contracting Parties, nitrogen oxides emissions are 12-61% lower in 2014 than in 1995 with the most significant drop of nitrogen oxides emissions in Denmark (61%) followed by Finland (46%), Sweden (45%) and Germany (44%). Also, for all HELCOM Contracting Parties the reductions of total nitrogen emissions can be observed in the period 1995 – 2014, ranging from 3% in Estonia to 47% in Denmark. Only ammonia, annual emissions increase in three out of nine HELCOM Contracting Parties in the period 1995-2014. These are: Estonia (10%), Germany (9%) and Finland (2%). In the remaining countries a decline (2-33%) of the ammonia emissions can be noticed.

Results and Assessment

Relevance of the indicator for describing the developments in the environment

This indicator shows the levels and trends of annual nitrogen oxides and ammonia emissions from anthropogenic sources in HELCOM Contracting Parties into the air. The emissions of nitrogen oxides and ammonia represent the pressure of emission sources on the atmosphere of the Baltic Sea basin and catchment.

Policy relevance and policy reference

The HELCOM Ministerial Declaration of 1988 called for a 50 % reduction in discharges of nutrients to air and water by 1995 with 1987 as a base year. The 1992 Helsinki Convention and the 1998 Ministerial Declaration reaffirmed the need to further reduce discharges; leading to the adoption of several relevant Recommendations concerning measures to reduce emissions from point sources and diffuse sources. In 1990 HELCOM adopted its first Recommendation on Monitoring of Airborne Pollution Load (HELCOM Recommendation 11/1), which was later superseded by the Recommendations 14/1 and 24/1.

On the European level the relevant policy to the control of emissions of nitrogen oxides and ammonia to the atmosphere is being taken in the framework of UN ECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) and in the EU NEC Directive. The Executive Body of CLRTAP adopted the Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground Level Ozone in Gothenburg (Sweden) on 30 November 1999. The 1999 Protocol set emission ceilings for 2010 for four pollutants: sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, ammonia and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).  These ceilings were negotiated on the basis of scientific assessments of pollution effects and abatement options.  Parties whose emissions had a more severe environmental or health impact and whose emissions were relatively cheap to reduce had to make the biggest cuts. The original 1999 Protocol was amended in 2012 to include national emission reduction commitments to be achieved in 2020 and beyond.  Following the revised Gothenburg Protocol, nitrogen oxides emissions in 2020 will be reduced between 18% and 56% in 31 countries, compared to 2005 annual emissions. The largest relative reductions will be in Denmark (56%), United Kingdom (55%) and France (50%). Ammonia emissions will be also reduced in the same 31 countries, but in the lower range 1-24%. The largest relative reductions of ammonia emissions will be in Denmark (24%), Finland (20%) and Sweden (15%). 

Assessment

Here we show and discuss nitrogen emission data as used in the EMEP/MSC-W model calculations performed in 2016 and presented to Second Joint Session of the Steering Body to the EMEP and the Working Group on Effects, which took place 13-16 September 2016 in Geneva.  The emissions for 2014 have been derived from the 2016 official data submissions to UNECE CLRTAP as of May 2016. The gridded distributions of the 2014 emissions have been provided by the EMEP Centre on Emission Inventories and Projections (CEIP). The emissions for the period of 2000–2013 have been derived from the data submissions to UNECE CLRTAP as of May 2015. Re-submissions of emission data in 2016 are not included since the gridded data set for 2000–2013 has not been updated by CEIP this year. However, on request from Germany we also present German emission data for the period 1995-2013 resubmitted in 2016 in Tables 2 and 3.The gridded emission data used in the model calculations this year are available on WebDab at: http://www.ceip.at/webdab_emepdatabase/emissions_emepmodels.

Time series of nitrogen oxides, ammonia and total nitrogen annual emissions in the period 1995 – 2014 are shown, for all HELCOM Contracting Parties, in Figure 1. Time series of nitrogen oxides, ammonia and total nitrogen annual emissions for the same period, in percent of 1995 emissions, are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 1.jpg 

Figure 1. Map of annual atmospheric emissions of nitrogen oxides, ammonia and total nitrogen from individual HELCOM Contracting Parties in the period 1995 – 2014. Units: ktonnes N/yr. Note: Different scales have been used for the various countries. The data cover emissions from all countries, except for Russia, where only emissions from the area covered by EMEP are included. Emission data as used in the EMEP MSC-W model calculations performed in 2016. Click image to enlarge.


Figure 2.jpg

Figure 2. Map of annual atmospheric emissions of nitrogen oxides, ammonia and total nitrogen from individual HELCOM Contracting Parties in the period 1995 – 2014, in percent of 1995 emissions. Note: The data cover emissions from all countries, except for Russia, where only emissions from the area covered by EMEP are included. Emission data as used in the EMEP MSC-W model calculations performed in 2016. Click image to enlarge.


For most of the countries, a decline in nitrogen emissions can be seen in the period 1995 – 2014. An increase can only be noticed for ammonia emissions from Estonia, Germany and Finland. A reduction for the emissions from the Baltic Sea region in the years 1995 – 2014 is more significant for nitrogen oxides emissions than for ammonia emissions. Nitrogen oxides emissions from the international ship traffic on the Baltic Sea (not shown here) are on the same level according to CEIP inventory. According to estimates of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) ship emissions from the Baltic Sea are decreasing from the year 2007 and especially for the last three years.

In all HELCOM Contracting Parties, nitrogen oxides emissions are 12-61% lower in 2014 than in 1995 with the most significant drop of nitrogen oxides emissions in Denmark (61%) followed by Finland (46%), Sweden (45%) and Germany (44%). Large reduction, in the considered period, can be also noticed in Latvia (33%) and Poland (32%) and smaller in Lithuania (17%), Estonia (14%) and Russia (12%).

Ammonia, emissions in six out of nine HELCOM Contracting Parties are lower in 2014 than in 1995, with the largest reduction in Denmark (33%), followed by Poland (16%), Sweden (16%), Lithuania (14%), Russia (6%) and finally Latvia (2%). Compared to 1995, ammonia emissions in 2014 are higher in Estonia (10%), Germany (9%) and Finland (2%).  

For all HELCOM Contracting Parties the reductions of total nitrogen emissions can be observed in the period 1995 – 2014, ranging from 3% in Estonia to 47% in Denmark. Besides Denmark, large reductions of total nitrogen emissions in the considered period can also be observed in Finland and Sweden – both 33%.

Emissions from outside the Baltic Sea region add to the nitrogen loads entering the Baltic, as do emissions from the ships. In 2014, nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from international ship traffic on the Baltic Sea contributed 12% to oxidised nitrogen deposition to the Baltic Sea basin.

Data

Numerical data on nitrogen emission from HELCOM Contracting Parties in the period 1995-2014 are given in the following tables via this MS Excel file:

Table 1. National total emissions of nitrogen oxides from individual HELCOM Contracting Parties in the period 1995 – 2014. Units: kt N/yr. Emission data as used in the EMEP/MSC-W model calculations performed in 2016. For nitrogen oxides these emissions are the same as resubmitted by Germany in 2016.

Table 2. National total emissions of ammonia from individual HELCOM Contracting Parties in the period 1995 – 2014. Units: kt N/yr. Emission data as used in the EMEP/MSC-W model calculations performed in 2016. On request from Germany, we also present ammonia emissions resubmitted to CEIP by in 2016 (Italics).

Table 3. National total emissions of total nitrogen from individual HELCOM Contracting Parties in the period 1995 – 2014. Units: kt N/yr. Emission data as used in the EMEP/MSC-W model calculations performed in 2016. On request from Germany, we also present ammonia emissions resubmitted to CEIP by in 2016 (Italics).


Meta data

Technical information

1. Source: EMEP Centre on Emission Inventories and Projections (CEIP): http://www.ceip.at/webdab_emepdatabase/emissions_emepmodels.

2. Description of data:  The gridded distributions of the 2014 emissions have been provided by CEIP. The emissions for the period of 2000–2013 have been derived from the data submissions to UNECE CLRTAP as of May 2015. Re-submissions of emission data in 2016 are not included since the gridded data set for 2000–2013 has not been updated by CEIP this year. However, on request from Germany, ammonia emissions from Germany emission resubmitted in 2016 are presented in Tables 2 and resulting emissions of total nitrogen in Table 3.

3. Geographical coverage: EMEP domain covering Europe, a part of Asia and a part of Atlantic Ocean.

4. Temporal coverage: Data on nitrogen oxides and ammonia emissions are presented here for the period 1995 - 2014.

5. Methodology and frequency of data collection: National data on emissions are annually submitted by countries Parties to CLRTAP Convention to the UN ECE Secretariat; the methodology is based on combination of emission measurements and emission estimates based on activity data and emission factors. Submitted data are passing through QA/QC procedure and stored in the EMEP Centre for Emission inventories and Projections CEIP in Vienna, Austria.

Quality information

6. Strength and weakness:

Strength: data on emissions are annually submitted, checked and stored in the database.

Weakness: gaps in time series of national emissions which have to be corrected by experts. Delays in updating historical emission data submitted by the EMEP Contracting Parties.

7. Uncertainty. No official information about the uncertainty of provided nitrogen emission data is available from CEIP.

8. Further work required: Further work on emission uncertainty is required.

 

For reference purposes, please cite this Baltic Sea environment fact sheet as follows:

[Author's name(s)], [Year]. [Baltic Sea environment fact sheet title]. HELCOM Baltic Sea Environment Fact Sheets. Online. [Date Viewed], http://www.helcom.fi/baltic-sea-trends/environment-fact-sheets/.


Last updated: 23.11.2016