The impact of nitrogen and sulfur emissions from shipping on the exceedance of critical loads in the Baltic Sea region

The emissions of nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S)species to the atmosphere from shipping significantly contribute to S and N deposition near the coast and to acidification and/or eutrophication of soils and freshwater.

In thecountries around the Baltic Sea, the shipping volume and itsrelative importance as a source of emissions are expected toincrease if no efficient regulations are implemented.

To assess the extent of environmental damage due to ship emissions for the Baltic Sea area, the exceedance of critical loads(CLs) for N and S has been calculated for the years 2012 and2040.

The paper evaluates the effects of several future scenarios, including the implementation of NECA and SECA(Nitrogen And Sulfur Emission Control Areas).

The implementation of NECA and SECA caused a significant decreasein the exceedance of CLs for N as a nutrient while the impact on the – already much lower – exceedance of CLs foracidification was less pronounced.

The relative contributionfrom Baltic shipping to the total deposition decreased from2012 in the 2040 scenario for both S and N. In contrastto exceedances of CLs for acidification, shipping still hasan impact on exceedances for eutrophication in 2040.

Geographically, the impact of shipping emissions is unevenlydistributed even within each country. This is illustrated bycalculating CL exceedances for 21 Swedish counties.

Theimpact, on a national level, is driven by a few coastal counties, where the impact of shipping is much higher than thenational summary suggests.

Subscribe to our newsletter