Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 85, Issue 4, pp 2503–2508

Estimating uncertainty in the current critical loads exceedance models


  • R. I. Smith
    • Institute of Terrestrial EcologyEdinburgh Research Station
  • J. R. Hall
    • Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Monks Wood
  • D. C. Howard
    • Institute of Terrestrial EcologyMerlewood Research Station
Part V Critical Loads

DOI: 10.1007/BF01186210

Cite this article as:
Smith, R.I., Hall, J.R. & Howard, D.C. Water Air Soil Pollut (1995) 85: 2503. doi:10.1007/BF01186210


The critical loads approach to quantifying areas at risk of damage requires deposition and critical loads data at the same spatial scale to calculate exceedance. While maps of critical loads for soil acidification are available at a 1 km scale no monitoring networks in Europe measure wet and dry inputs at this scale and, further, the models currently used to estimate deposition incorporate a number of assumptions which are not valid at the 1 km scale. Simulations of 1 km deposition from 20 km data show that the uncertainty introduced by using 20 km scale estimates of deposition is small, except in mountain areas where it can give misleading results, but a major problem is the uncertainty in estimates of deposition at the 20 km scale produced by the current models.

Key words

critical loaddeposition modelspatial scaleuncertaintyprobability distribution

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995