Berlin Environmental Atlas

03.01 Sulfur Dioxide - Emissions and Pollution (Edition 1997)

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Statistical Base


An emission data base for the primary polluter groups is maintained by the Department of Urban Development, Environmental Protection and Technology in order to provide a differentiated evaluation and elimination of the sources of sulfur dioxide loads.

In order to create the emission data base industry 1994, data is taken from the emissions declarations of the large individual polluters such as power, heating power, and heating plants and industrial plants. The operators are required by regulations pursuant to the Federal Air Pollution Control Law to file such declarations with the air pollution control agencies every two years.

The emission data base domestic heating 1994 has been developed statistically in order to cover the numerous small domestic heating plants found in the metropolitan area. The total heating requirements and proportions of different heating types has been assessed for all residential buildings. This includes the number of coal oven heaters, oil furnaces, gas apartment heaters, electrical and district heating. The emission level for each housing block has been determined using factors for each different heating type. Heating needs which are satisfied by means of electric heating or district heating were not counted if the heat was produced by facilities requiring a license. For gas heating, the emission factors are significantly lower than for coal and oil heating. Hence this type of furnace contributes very little to the sulfur dioxide load.

The emission data base traffic 1993 for the share of sulfur dioxide emissions produced by motor vehicles is based on the count of traffic as performed by the traffic administration as well as data on the number of motor vehicles and the average performance of each vehicle. The emissions are calculated with the help of factors set for each class of motor vehicle. Diesel-powered vehicles are the only ones which cause significant sulfur dioxide emissions.

All estimates and calculations have been compared to the energy balance in which the total fuel consumption for Berlin is recorded.

Calculated Pollution

The pollution calculations were performed separately for large single polluters and the polluter groups domestic heating and traffic with the aid of a computer-supported meteorological dispersion model (c.f. Fath et al. 1991).

The dispersion calculations for domestic heating and traffic emissions were measured from a reference grid of 1 x 1 km. These were assigned particular emission levels. The large single polluters were assessed from the smokestack site and elevation.

For the calculations, it is assumed that the pollutant particles contained in the trails of smoke are transported with the wind and expand vertically in the average transport direction vertically and horizontally following a normal distribution. At that altitude they can only be dispersed so far until a temperature inversion prevents further expansion. Wind direction, wind speed, turbulent dispersion capacity of the atmosphere and a variable inversion altitude are all taken into account. In addition the fact that the heating needs and so thus also the pollutant emissions rise greatly in the winter with decreasing temperature.

Since the model calculations assume an unhindered expansion of the pollutants and because the assignment of domestic heating and traffic emissions as a whole follow grid areas of 1 x 1 km, the calculation results represent measurement sites ordered at a greater distance from pollutant sources, particularly streets. The pollutant concentration is calculated for about 100 points, which are distributed over the entire urban area.

Measured Pollution

In 1995, the pollution measurements in Berlin included continuous sulfur dioxide measurements taken at 36 BLUME stations. 20 stations lay in the western part and 16 stations in the eastern part of the city. Automatic measurement instruments are in service at all stations, joined by telephone leased lines to a central computer to which the values are transmitted in 3-minutes intervals. All measurement instruments work using the UV-fluorescence method.

Since the beginning of intensive measurement in 1975, it was ascertained that the pollution limits of the TA-Luft and limits of the EC Guideline for sulfur dioxide and floating dust were regularly exceeded, the measurement stations to 1989 in the western part of the city were ordered in a regular 4 x 4 km-grid, which covered the built-up urban area up to the city outskirts. After the great change in the GDR, the five existing stations in the eastern part of the city were replaced stations with six new stations which could also measure floating dust (c.f. Map 03.04, SenStadtUm 1994c). Further monitoring stations were removed from the western to the eastern part of Berlin since the higher concentrations of sulfur dioxide and floating dust were measured in the East and the pollution levels were exceeded primarily in the city center stations in the West after the reunification. The shift was completed in 1993.

At four stations measurements are taken under direct influence of road traffic. A station (14, Charlottenburg) lies in direct proximity to the city expressway, the second station (74, Friedrichshain) in the heavily traveled crossing Frankfurter Allee/Warschauer Strasse and two further stations on equally heavily traveled streets with closed-in construction surrounding the street lanes (117, Steglitz and 174, Friedrichshain) (traffic corridors). According to the general regulations of the Federal Air Pollution Control Law for the measurement and evaluation of the pollution loads the stations are prescribed at a distance of more than 20 m from pollutant sources. A measuring device on the broadcasting tower in Frohnau on the northern edge of the city was installed at approx. 300 m above the ground in order to measure the national sulfur dioxide load in the air (c.f. Maps 03.01.8 and 03.01.9).

By 1996 the concentration in the eastern part of the city had so declined that the limits have not been exceeded in the entire city area. Since there was no further reason to expect pollution limits to exceed those of the regulation pertaining to the reduction of damaging environmental impact during low-exchange weather conditions (Smog Regulation 1990), this regulation was repealed at the end of 1995. As a consequence, the number of measuring stations has been gradually reduced since 1994.

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