Euro-limpacs Deliverables

ABSTRACT - DELIVERABLE 130

Report - Completed deposition scenarios for NOx and SOx in European regions in year 2100

Research aimed at describing future changes in environmental status is dependant on assumptions of change sin external drivers such as climate (temperature, precipitation), land-use and emissions of pollutants to air and water. These changes are primarily driven by human activities and secondly by interactions between different environmental compartments.

For predictions of climate change, large scale models are used to simulate atmospheric processes and energy flows. One of the more important drivers in these models is the atmospheric concentration of CO2 and other climate gases. Thus emission scenarios for CO2 are the perhaps most important variable in these models. The emission scenarios are based on future predictions of economic growth, population growth and development the energy system. These future predictions are mainly based on the work of IPCC where a large number of scenarios have been elaborated.

In this report, an attempt to provide scenarios for emissions of SO2 and NOX in Europe for the period 2000 to 2100 is described. The motivation for this attempt is the need for such scenarios in different activities in the Eurolimpacs project (www.eurolimpacs.ucl.ac.uk/). One example from Eurolimpacs is the activity on acidification of surface waters. Here, one of the aims is to use models describing the main processes involved in acidification and recovery of soils and surface waters to predict how the acidification status of European surface waters will change with a changing climate. To achieve this it is necessary to understand how the main physical and chemical processes in soils and water are influenced by changing climate parameters. In addition to this, it is also necessary to include changes in the atmospheric input of acidifying substances i.e. sulphate and nitrate.

In this study, IPCC scenarios for energy demand in Europe are used as a basis for estimating future emissions of SO2 and NOX. The emission data is then combined with source-receptor information from the EMEP atmospheric model to achieve deposition scenarios for European countries and selected EMEP grids.

It should be pointed out that in the process of translating data on energy demand to emissions of SO2 and NOX, a number of relatively coarse assumptions have to be made. This is to some extent a result of the aggregated descriptions of energy demand and energy sources in various societal sectors used in the IPCC scenarios. In addition to this, assumptions on changes in environmental policies leading to changes in energy sources and technology (and thus emissions) have to be introduced since the IPCC scenarios are based on current legislation i.e. without restrictions on CO2 emissions such as the Kyoto protocol. Here we have chosen a relatively strict scenario for limiting the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and modified the energy system to reach a sufficiently low emission level.

The assumptions made in this report, and thus the final results, should thus be viewed as one scenario out of many possible.

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