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Inventorying emissions from nature in Europe

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • David Simpson
  • Wilfried Winiwarter
  • Gunnar Borjesson
  • Steve Cinderby
  • Antonio Ferreiro
  • Alex Guenther
  • CN Hewitt
  • Robert Janson
  • M. Aslam Khalil
  • Susan Owen
  • Tom E. Pierce
  • Hans Puxbaum
  • Martha Shearer
  • Ute Skiba
  • Rainer Steinbrecher
  • Leonor Tarrason
  • Mats G. Oquist
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1999
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue numberD7
Number of pages40
Pages (from-to)8113-8152
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


As part of the work of the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations Task Force on Emission Inventories, a new set of guidelines has been developed for assessing the emissions of sulphur, nitrogen oxides, NH3, CH4, and nonmethane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) from biogenic and other natural sources in Europe. This paper gives the background to these guidelines, describes the sources, and gives our recommended methodologies for estimating emissions. We have assembled land use and other statistics from European or national compilations and present emission estimates for the various natural/biogenic source categories based on these. Total emissions from nature derived here amount to ∼1.1 Tg S yr−1, 6–8 Tg CH4 yr−1, 70 Gg NH3 (as N) yr−1, and 13 Tg NMVOC yr−1. Estimates of biogenic NO x emissions cover a wide range, from 140 to 1500 Gg NO x (as N) yr−1. In terms of relative contribution to total European emissions for different pollutants, then NMVOC from forests and vegetation are clearly the most important emissions source. Biogenic NO x emissions (although heavily influenced by nitrogen inputs from anthropogenic activities) are very important if the higher estimates are reliable. CH4 from wetlands and sulphur from volcanoes are also significant emissions in the European budgets. On a global scale, European biogenic emissions are not significant, a consequence of the climate and size (7% of global land area) of Europe and of the destruction of natural ecosystems since prehistoric times. However, for assessing local budgets and for photochemical oxidant modeling, natural/biogenic emissions can play an important role. The most important contributor in this regard is undoubtedly forest VOC emissions, although this paper also indicates that NMVOC emissions from nonforested areas also need to be further evaluated. This paper was originally conceived as a contribution to the collection of papers arising as a result of the Workshop on Biogenic Hydrocarbons in the Atmospheric Boundary Layer, August 24–27, 1997. (Several papers arising from this workshop have been published in Journal of Geophysical Research, 103(D19) 1998.)