Berlin Environmental Atlas

03.08 Organic Gases and Vapor - Emissions and Pollutions

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Map Description

Emissions and Calculated Pollutions 1989

In the four Maps 03.08.1, 03.08.2, 03.08.3 and 03.08.4, the emissions are presented for the main polluter groups industry, traffic, domestic heating and households respectively in 1 km²-grid sections for 1989. The Maps 03.08.5, 03.08.6 and 03.08.7 give the 1989 calculated annual mean for the named main polluter groups for the hydrocarbon burden in Berlin air.


The Map of Industry Emissions of hydrocarbons (03.08.1) shows another picture from the maps of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and dust ( cf. Maps 03.01, 03.03 and 03.04 SenStadtUm 1994a-c). Of course isolated emission maximums can also be recognized in this map. However, they often do not lie near the locations of power plants. Rather they are found near large tank farms or industrial plants in which larger quantities of hydrocarbons are used. Indeed in the eastern part of the city, the most noticeable heating power plants are also in Rummelsburg and two heating plants in the Köpenick borough.

The Map of Calculated Pollution for the polluter group industry (03.08.5) shows an altogether balanced picture with inner city values of 30 to 50 µg/m³. Two pronounced maximums in the boroughs Spandau and Köpenick, with values of 130 and 108 µg/m³ which were calculated only at one to two sampling points, indicate the local influence of relatively large pollutant sources (e.g. tank farms) with slight emission levels.


The Map 03.08.2 of the Emissions of the Motor Vehicle Traffic shows road traffic to be the most important emitter group. The highest traffic-conditioned emissions were measured in the eastern inner city. The maximum is indicated for Alexanderplatz. Also the main traffic arteries Schönhauser Allee to north, Landsberger Allee to the northeast, Frankfurter Allee to the east and Adlergestell to the southeast are clearly identifiable. This is above all attributable to the high emission from vehicles with two-stroke engines. With the reduction of the number of Trabant and Wartburg vehicles, the maximums have since been reduced to the level of western streets. In the west part of the city, the city expressway and the East-West axis along the Bismarckstraße and Kaiserdamm are especially prominent. However, distinct focal points are not identifiable.

Due to the low height of motor vehicle emissions and the resulting close correlation of emission and pollution, the Map 03.08.6 of Calculated Traffic Pollution essentially reflects the structure of the emission field. At Alexanderplatz, the location of the emission maximum of 535 t/km² and year, also the maximum pollution concentration by about 400 µg/m³ has been calculated. It is to be interpreted as medium area related background concentration because of the ordering of the emission in grid sections.

Based on a benzene component of 6 %, as assumed for traffic related pollution calculations, the total of all calculated hydrocarbons of 400 µg/m³ corresponds to a benzene concentration of approx. 24 µg/m³. This is 3.5-fold the value to be expected from the measurements.

In the western part of Berlin, the calculated values lie at about 200 µg/m³ at the measuring points in Wedding and Neukölln. That corresponds to a benzene concentration of 12 µg/m³, which is about twice as high as the mean measurement values of 5.3 and 5.6 µg/m³.

The discrepancy between the measurement results and the calculations, which is even substantially greater if the pollution from the other polluter groups is taken into account, can have several grounds:

On one hand it is assumed that actually a part of the traffic and domestic heating-induced hydrocarbon emission already shortly after the discharge into the atmosphere cease to appear as gaseous air pollution. These substances fall out either through condensation, precipitation with dust particles or deposits on the ground. However, they are retained in the pollution calculations as gases. Secondly the emission height for motor vehicles for the dispersion calculations must be given hypothetically since a free flow of car exhaust fumes is not given equivalent to trails of smoke. The assumed emission height of two meters for surface area related calculations, with which the pollution is to be determined in residential areas, was most probably too low. In addition, nitrogen oxide levels were probably overestimated (cf. Map 03.03.6 SenStadtUm 1994b). A third reason lies in the temporal difference between the pollution measurements and the dispersion calculations. The emission statements were calculated for 1989 while the measurement values apply to 1991. It is to be assumed that in the mean time emissions have decreased because of the drop in the number of vehicles with two-stroke engines. It would appear that the dispersion calculations for the eastern part of the city are clear overestimations in comparison to those for the western part of the city.

Quantitative evaluation of the different influences is the object of further investigations by which the calculated pollution fields of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and sulfur dust also are drawn for comparison.

On the other hand the calculated pollution field serves to illustrate essential features of the distribution of the pollutant load in Berlin air. It elucidates already the high influence of motor vehicle traffic on the hydrocarbon load in the air. This is also demonstrated by the measurement results.

Domestic Heating and Households

The Map Emissions from Domestic Heating (03.08.3) shows altogether in the eastern part of the inner city higher values than in the western half, just as in the case of road traffic. The maximum lies in Prenzlauer Berg, the area with the highest residential density in Berlin. In addition this part of the city is still heated primarily with coal ovens and coal central heating. From the high hydrocarbon emissions of 145 t/km² and year along with the estimated additional emissions from households due to use of paints, varnish and solvents amounting to 74 t/ km² and year, a pollution concentration through domestic heating and households has been calculated at 100 µg/m³. Also this calculation result must be seen as too high and will be checked by further investigations.

Using the depiction of domestic heating and other household emissions, it becomes clear that, independent of the absolute amount of calculated pollution concentration, lignite combustion in small, insufficiently adjustable heating systems has a significant impact.

Measured Pollution - Annual Mean - Benzene 1991

In the Map 03.08.9, the Annual Averages for Benzene Concentration measured in 1991 are presented. They exhibit great variances with a minimum value of 1.6 µg/m³ at the measuring points in Grunewald and maximum values of 10.4 to 14.5 µg/m³ at the street-side measuring points. These values exceed the limit of 10 µg/m³ (as of 1998) for benzene at the street-side monitoring stations currently being discussed. The measurements were within the 15 µg/m³ limit set by the draft 23 BImSchV as of 1995.

On the basis of dispersion calculations for traffic corridors (cf. SenStadtUm 1992), it can be assumed that in many streets with closed edge development and high traffic volume similarly high values appear. The results of an in-depth study to assess the air pollutant emissions in the main streets of Berlin demand upon application of the draft 23 BImSchV presented by the federal government, that in-depth investigations be carried out in approx. 15 % the street sections since it is to be expected that the anticipated concentration values from 1 July 1995 will be exceeded (cf. Blümel 1994 and IVU 1993).

At the measuring positions not directly influenced by motor vehicle traffic, the values lay between 3.8 and 7.8 µg/m³. For the Berlin inner city, a median value of around 6 µg/m³ can be assumed. In the western part of the inner city, the value lies closer to 5.5 µg/m³, in the eastern part to 6.5 µg/m³.

Based on measurements in the western inner city, an average concentration of about 110 µg/m³ for the sum of the hydrocarbons can be expected. In the eastern inner city, the concentration lies somewhat higher, with about 150 µg/m³. At the street-side monitoring stations values of even 180 to 300 µg/m³ can be derived from the measured concentrations.

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