Base cations deposition in Europe

The support from the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Working Group for Air and Sea Pollution, has significantly contributed to the development of unified calculations of base cation deposition across Europe with the EMEP model. Previous estimates of base cation deposition in Europe have mainly been based on empirical approaches of varying quality depending on country. The results of the model calculations will be used by CLRTAP and EU to assess the need for reduction of emissions of acidifying air pollutants in agreement with the Gothenburg protocol and NEC. The EMEP model has been extended to calculate the deposition of four base cations; calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), potassium (K+) and sodium (Na+). Natural emissions (from sea salt and wind blown dust) as well as anthropogenic emissions (from combustion and industrial processes) have been considered. Base cations are assumed to behave in a similar manner as primary particles in the atmosphere, and hence the transport and deposition of base cations are considered in the same way as primary particles in the EMEP model. The result of the EMEP modelling was compared with wet deposition fluxes derived from the EMEP and ICP-Forest network, and throughfall measurements from the ICP-Forest network, to assess the robustness of the model calculations. This comparison showed encouraging results. However, it was recognised that the EMEP model can be developed further, particularly regarding the estimates of base cation sources, to correctly quantify the base cation deposition in Europe. Furthermore, to provide a confident assessment of the results of the EMEP model, it is of great importance to further develop and improve the measurement methodologies and the methods applied to estimate dry deposition.

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