The UK National Focal Centre has launched a new website on critical loads and dynamic modelling. The website provides the latest national-scale critical load exceedance maps and trends in acidity and nutrient nitrogen critical load exceedances. For those requiring more information, detailed reports can be accessed and downloaded on the methods and data used to derive UK critical loads data and maps and exceedance metrics.
We've updated the Search by Location and Site Relevant Critical Loads tools to use the latest pollutant deposition and concentration data. They are now based on a 3-year mean for 2011-2013. There have been changes to the method used to derive deposition maps in order to correct for an error in the measurement data upon which the mapping is based. Read more about these changes.
A new mobile app using lichens to assess atmospheric nitrogen pollution effects has been developed by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH). The web-app is based on a field guide produced in collaboration with Natural History Museum, The University of Nottingham, SNIFFER, JNCC, SNH, SEPA and NIEA, and published by the Field Studies Council.
Recent research on UK oak and birch trees identified a set of ‘indicator’ lichens (sensitive and tolerant) with clear responses to increasing concentrations of atmospheric nitrogen pollutants. By identifying the presence or absence of nitrogen sensitive and non-sensitive lichens on tree trunks and branches you can get an estimate of how polluted your area is. Emphasis has been placed on the use of indicator lichens that do not require identification at the microscopic level and that are least likely to be confused with other species. The app includes some simple elements:
- Lichen identification key guide for nitrogen sensitive and tolerant species.
- Simple Recording system for surveying lichens on tree trunks and branches (only five trunks and five branches required).
- Field guide with instructions on carrying out the survey.
- Auto-calculated and robust method to determine nitrogen pollution levels using a standardised nitrogen air quality index (NAQI).
- Informs the public of their local nitrogen air quality based on four pollutant zones - 'Clean', 'At risk', 'Nitrogen Polluted’ or 'Very Nitrogen Polluted'.
The Statutory Nature Conservation bodies have published a framework for UK research and evidence needs relating to air pollution impacts on ecosystems. Evidence and research needs are organised into three high-level themes and linked to policy and operational drivers.
The Framework is designed to be shared and to help inform the work of others with similar interests and responsibilities. It aims to provide a structure to promote discussion on establishing agreed research priorities.
Over the last year we’ve been updating and improving APIS. We’ve updated and improved the Site Relevant Critical Loads tools to include new sites. This now includes data on pollutant concentrations at sites as well as site relevant critical levels for Ammonia, Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Dioxide. We’ve also updated many of the pollutant/habitat records as well as the concentration/deposition datasets.
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