Part V Critical Loads

Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 85, Issue 4, pp 2521-2526

First online:

The effects of scale and resolution in developing percentile maps of critical loads for the UK

  • J. HallAffiliated withInstitute of Terrestrial Ecology
  • , K. BullAffiliated withInstitute of Terrestrial Ecology
  • , M. BrownAffiliated withInstitute of Terrestrial Ecology
  • , H. DykeAffiliated withInstitute of Terrestrial Ecology
  • , J. UllyettAffiliated withInstitute of Terrestrial Ecology
  • , M. HornungAffiliated withInstitute of Terrestrial Ecology

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Critical loads are estimated in the UK by the Department of Environment's Critical Loads Advisory Group and sub-groups. The Mapping and Data Centre at ITE Monks Wood acts as the National Focal Centre for the UNECE programme for mapping critical loads. The centre is responsible for the generation of UK data sets and their application for national and European purposes. To make effective use of these data, it is necessary to draw upon other environmental data and examine the issues of scale, uncertainty and the way that data are presented. This paper outlines the methodologies which have been employed to derive national maps. Early critical load maps were not vegetation specific, but now critical loads for acidity and for nutrient nitrogen for soils, critical levels maps for ozone and sulphur dioxide, and sulphur deposition maps, have been generated on a vegetation or ecosystem specific basis. These have been used to derive a number of different types of critical load and exceedance maps. The results show the importance of the method selected and the data used for the interpretation. The visualisation of critical loads and the corresponding exceedance data is an important aspect in producing information for pollution abatement strategies.


Critical loads percentiles scale resolution uncertainty UK UNECE