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Implementing a Global Geographical Information System for Modelling Sustainable Environmental Quality: The Critical Load Experience

  • Evert N. Meijer
  • Jean-Paul Hettelingh
  • Paul Padding
Part of the The GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL, volume 24)

Abstract

Air pollution has become an increasing threat to environmental quality over the past decades in all parts of the world. An example of this is known as acid rain: deposition of acidifying compounds, i.e., sulfur and nitrogen, which are emitted in the atmosphere by fuel combustion. The transboundary atmospheric transport of these acidifying compounds covers large areas, resulting in environmental effects, e.g., forest dieback in regions that may be distant from the sources. Recently, other environmental effects, e.g., climatic change, damage to the ozone layer and eutrophication of soils and waters are seen having global consequences. The assessment of the regional distribution of environmental effects has become an important issue for scientists and relevant input for policy-makers. One of the tools in evaluating abatement strategies is to compare regional acidifying deposition with regional patterns of acceptable acidification, so-called critical loads. In 1989 a Coordination Centre for Effects (CCE) has been established in the framework of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe at the National Institute of Public Health and Environment Protection (RIVM) in the Netherlands in order to produce maps of critical loads and maps displaying the excess of critical loads by current acidification. The method used by the CCE consists of the application of a mathematical model to compute critical loads and the use of geographical information systems (GIS). In 1992 a project group financed by the World Bank, in which RIVM participated, has started the mapping of critical loads in Asia. In this chapter, the potential of using an environmental model in combination with GIS is presented based on the experience of air pollution research in Europe and China. It is shown that this combined method enables the computation of environmental quality indicators and the identification of regions where environmental quality is most at risk.

Keywords

Grid Cell Emission Reduction Geographical Information System Critical Load Acid Rain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evert N. Meijer
    • 1
  • Jean-Paul Hettelingh
    • 2
  • Paul Padding
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Human Geography & Geodan bvUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Coordination Centre for Effects - WestNational Institute of Public Health and Environmental ProtectionBilthovenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Informatics Service CentreNational Institute of Public Health and Environmental ProtectionBilthovenThe Netherlands

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