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 Nitrogen emissions to the air

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

HELCOM Baltic Sea Environment Fact Sheet 2018, Published: 5 December 2018

Author: Michael Gauss and Jerzy Bartnicki, EMEP MSC-W

 

Key message

In all HELCOM Contracting Parties, oxidized nitrogen emissions were lower in 2016 than in 1995, with the most significant reductions in Denmark (60%), followed by Finland (48%), Sweden (47%) and Germany (44%). For all HELCOM Contracting Parties except Russia, reductions of total nitrogen emissions are reported for the period 1995 – 2016, ranging from 11% in Estonia to 46% in Denmark. Total nitrogen emissions from Russia increased only by 3% from 1995 to 2016. For ammonia (reduced nitrogen), annual emissions increased in only two out of nine HELCOM Contracting Parties in the period 1995-2016. These are: Russia (+21%) and Estonia (+1%). In the remaining countries a decline of ammonia emissions can be noticed, with the most significant declines in Denmark (32%) and Lithuania (28%).


Results and Assessment

Relevance of the BSEFs for describing 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 above the Baltic Sea basin and catchment area.


Policy relevance and policy references 

The HELCOM Copenhagen Ministerial Declaration of 2013 on Taking Further Action to Implement the Baltic Sea Action Plan reconfirmed the need of Reaching Good Environmental Status for a healthy Baltic Sea. The declaration includes nutrient reduction targets, and thus also concerns air-borne nitrogen input to the Baltic Sea. In particular, the Declaration welcomes the new targets on Maximum Allowed Inputs (based on revised harmonized eutrophication status targets) and agrees on revised Country  Allocated  Reduction  Targets  (CARTs),  covering both  pollution  from  land  and  airborne, which substitute the  provisional country-wise nutrient  reduction requirements of the Baltic Sea Action Plan.

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 by 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 also be reduced in the same 31 countries, but by smaller percentages, 1-24%. The largest relative reductions of ammonia emissions will be in Denmark (24%), Finland (20%) and Sweden (15%). In the European Union, the revised Gothenburg Protocol is implemented by the new EU NEC Directive 2016/2284/EU which sets 2020 and 2030 emission reduction commitments for five main air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides and ammonia.

Assessment

Here we show and discuss nitrogen emission data as used in the EMEP MSC-W model calculations performed in 2018 and presented to the Fourth Joint session of the Working Group on Effects and the Steering Body to EMEP which took place 10-14 September 2018 in Geneva. The emissions for 2016 have been derived from the 2018 official data submissions to UNECE CLRTAP as of May 2018. The gridded distributions of the 2016 emissions have been provided by the EMEP Centre on Emission Inventories and Projections (CEIP). The emission data reported in 2018 by all HELCOM Contracted Parties except Russia appeared to be complete and plausible. Therefore no gap-filling was performed for these countries. In the case of Russia, the most recent reported data includes only the year 2013 and a gap-filling procedure was necessary (Tista et al., 2017). For NOx emissions, national total data was calculated by the extrapolation of TNO data (Kuenen et al. 2014). National totals of ammonia emissions were calculated by extrapolation of reported data. The gridded emission data used in the model calculations 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 – 2016 are shown for all HELCOM Contracting Parties in Figure 1. Time series of nitrogen oxides, ammonia and total nitrogen annual emissions, as percentage of 1995 emissions, are shown for the same period in Figure 2.


Figure 1. Map of annual atmospheric emissions of nitrogen oxides, ammonia and total nitrogen from individual HELCOM Contracting Parties in the period 1995 – 2016. 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. These emission data have been used in the EMEP MSC-W model calculations performed in 2018.


Figure 2. Map of annual atmospheric emissions of nitrogen oxides, ammonia and total nitrogen from individual HELCOM Contracting Parties in the period 1995 – 2016, as percentage 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. These emission data have been used in the EMEP MSC-W model calculations performed in 2018.

For most of the countries, a decline in nitrogen emissions can be seen in the period 1995 – 2016. An increase can only be noticed for ammonia emissions from Russia (+21%) and Estonia (+1%). The reduction of emissions from the Baltic Sea region in the years 1995 – 2016 is more significant for nitrogen oxides than for ammonia. Concerning nitrogen oxides emissions from international shipping on the Baltic Sea (not shown here), for the second time this year, MSC-W has used data from the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) in the model calculations. The data are valid for 2015, as emission data for 2016 were not available in time for the model calculations. For historical shipping emissions (2000-2014) the FMI data were scaled  based on trends developed within the EU Horizon2020 project MACC-III (MACC-III, 2015) and the ICCT Report (Olmer et al. 2017). Ship emissions data for 1995-1999 have not been revised by CEIP recently, so these remained unchanged with respect to earlier HELCOM and EMEP status reports.

In all HELCOM Contracting Parties, nitrogen oxides emissions are 2-60% lower in 2016 than in 1995 with the most significant reductions in Denmark (60%) followed by Finland (48%), Sweden (47%), and Germany (44%). Large reductions, in the considered period, can also be noticed in Latvia (33%) and Poland (32%), Estonia (20%), Lithuania (13%) and Russia (10%)

For ammonia, emissions in seven out of nine HELCOM Contracting Parties are lower in 2016 than in 1995, with the largest reductions in Denmark (32%), followed by Lithuania (28%), Sweden (17%), Poland (16%), Finland (14%), Latvia (10%) and Germany (2%). Compared to 1995, ammonia emissions in 2016 are higher in Russia (21%) and slightly higher in Estonia (1%).   

In all HELCOM Contracting Parties except Russia reductions of total nitrogen emissions are reported for the period 1995 – 2016, ranging from 10% in Estonia to 46% in Denmark. In Russia, emissions of total nitrogen increased by 3% between 1995 and 2016.


Data

Numerical data on nitrogen emission from HELCOM Contracting Parties in the period 1995-2016 are given in the following tables via this MS Excel file:

Table 1. National total emissions of nitrogen oxides from individual HELCOM Contracting Parties (and international shipping) in the period 1995 – 2016. Units: ktonnes N/yr. Emission data as used in the EMEP MSC-W model calculations performed in 2018. “Shipping” means emissions from International Shipping on the Baltic Sea.

Table 2. National total emissions of ammonia from individual HELCOM Contracting Parties in the period 1995 – 2016. Units: kt N/yr. Emission data as used in the EMEP MSC-W model calculations performed in 2018.

Table 3. National total emissions of total nitrogen from individual HELCOM Contracting Parties in the period 1995 – 2016. Units: kt N/yr. Emission data as used in the EMEP MSC-W model calculations performed in 2018.

Meta data

Technical information

1. Source: EMEP Centre on Emission Inventories and Projections (CEIP).

2. Description of data:  The gridded distributions of the 2016 emissions have been provided by the EMEP Centre on Emission Inventories and Projections (CEIP). The emissions for 2016 have been derived from the 2018 official data submissions to UNECE CLRTAP as of May 2018.

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 - 2016.

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


Quality information

6. Strengths and weaknesses: Strength: data on emissions are annually submitted, checked and stored in the database; Weakness: there are gaps in time series of national emissions, which have to be corrected by experts. Delays occur 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. However, in general the emission data calculated in the gap-filling procedure are less certain than those submitted by the countries.

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


References

EMEP Status Report 1/2018. "Transboundary particulate matter, photo-oxidants, acidifying and eutrophying components" Joint MSC-W & CCC & CEIP Report.

Kuenen J.J.P., Visschedijk A.J.H., Jozwicka M., Denier van der Gon H.A.C. 2014: TNO-MACC_II emission inventory; A multi-year (2003-2009) consistent high-resolution European emission inventory for air quality modelling. Supplementary material. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 14, 1096310976. http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/14/10963/2014/

MACC-III: Report on the update of global and European anthropogenic emissions., Tech. Rep. COPERNICUS Grant agreement 633080, MACC-III (Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate, 2015.

Olmer, N., Comer, B., Roy, B., Mao, X., and Rutherford, D.: Greenhouse gas emissions from global shipping, 2013-2015, The international Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), URL https://www.theicct.org/publications/GHGemissions-global-shipping-2013-2015, 2017.

Tista, M., Wankmueller, R., and K. Mareckova (2017): Methodologies applied to the CEIP GNFR gap-filling 2017. Part III: Main pollutants and Particulate Matter (NOx, NMVOCs, SOx, NH3, CO, PM2.5, PM10, PMcoarse). Technical report CEIP 03-3/2017.

 

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: 05.12.2018