Detection of temporal trends in atmospheric deposition of inorganic nitrogen and sulphate to forests in Europe

Peter Waldner, Aldo Marchetto, Anne Thimonier, Maria Schmitt, Michela Rogora, Oliver Granke, Volker Mues, Karin Hansen, Gunilla Pihl Karlsson, Daniel Zlindra, Nicholas Clarke, Arne Verstraeten, Andis Lazdins, Claus Schimming, Carmen Iacoban, Antti-Jussi Lindroos, Elena Vanguelova, Sue Benham, Henning Meesenburg, Manuel NicolasAnna Kowalska, Vladislav Apuhtin, Ulle Nappa, Zora Lachmanova, Ferdinand Kristoefel, Albert Bleeker, Morten Ingerslev, Lars Vesterdal, Juan Molina, Uwe Fischer, Walter Seidling, Mathieu Jonard, Philip O'Dea, James Johnson, Richard Fischer, Martin Lorenz

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    Atmospheric deposition to forests has been monitored within the International Cooperative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests (ICP Forests) with sampling and analyses of bulk precipitation and throughfall at several hundred forested plots for more than 15 years. The current deposition of inorganic nitrogen (nitrate and ammonium) and sulphate is highest in central Europe as well as in some southern regions. We compared linear regression and ManneKendall trend analysis techniques often used to detect temporal trends in atmospheric deposition. The choice of method influenced the number of significant trends. Detection of trends was more powerful using monthly data compared to annual data. The slope of a trend needed to exceed a certain minimum in order to be detected despite the short-term variability of deposition. This variability could to a large extent be explained by meteorological processes, and the minimum slope of detectable trends was thus
    similar across sites and many ions. The overall decreasing trends for inorganic nitrogen and sulphate in the decade to 2010 were about 2% and 6%, respectively. Time series of about 10 and 6 years were required to detect significant trends in inorganic nitrogen and sulphate on a single plot. The strongest decreasing
    trends were observed in western central Europe in regions with relatively high deposition fluxes, whereas stable or slightly increasing deposition during the last 5 years was found east of the Alpine region as well as in northern Europe. Past reductions in anthropogenic emissions of both acidifying and eutrophying compounds can be confirmed due to the availability of long-term data series but further reductions are required to reduce deposition to European forests to levels below which significant harmful effects do not occur according to present knowledge.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAtmospheric Environment
    Pages (from-to)363-374
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - 26-Jun-2014

    Thematic list

    • Acidification
    • Eutrophication
    • Woods and parks
    • Oak- and beechwoods

    EWI Biomedical sciences

    • B003-ecology


    • policy assessment
    • woodland protection
    • air pollution emission policy

    Geographic list

    • Europe


    • statistics and modelling


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