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The only international requirements for spatial distribution of emissions are for reporting under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The current guidelines are from 2009 (UNECE, 2009), but new guidelines will come into force from the next reporting in 2017 (UNECE, 2014).

The required grid is the “EMEP grid”, which refers to a 0.1°×0.1° latitude-longitude projection in the geographic coordinate World Geodetic System (WGS) latest revision, WGS 84. The EMEP domain covers the geographic domain between 30°N–82°N latitude and 30°W–90°E longitude.

From 2017 the requirement is to report every four years for the year x-2 updated aggregated sectoral (GNFR) gridded emissions. Gridded emissions in a grid of 0.1 x 0.1 degrees shall be reported for: sulphur (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), ammonia (NH3), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), carbon monoxide (CO), particles with an aerodynamic diameter equal to or less than 10 μm (PM10), particles with an aerodynamic diameter equal to or less than 2.5 micrometres μm (PM2.5), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, and indeno(1,2,3_cd)pyrene, dioxins and furans (PCDD/F), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB).

In addition to the substances listed above, it is encouraged to report: Black carbon (BC), total suspended particulate matter (TSP), arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), nickel (Ni), selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn).

The gridded emissions have to be reported at a specific sectoral aggregation, the GNFR (Gridded Nomenclature For Reporting). This nomenclature defines 17 categories for which the emissions shall be reported. The GNFR aggregated sectors are shown in the table below.




Emissions from plants producing electricity and/or heat for the public grid


Emissions from combustion and processes in industry


Emissions from small combustion sectors, e.g. commercial, institutional, residential and agricultural


Fugitive emissions associated with production, refining, transport and storage of fuels.


Emissions from the use of solvents


Emissions from road transport


Emissions from domestic navigation, i.e. navigation between two domestic ports. Fishing is included under “I_Offroad”


Emissions from landing and take-off (LTO) both for domestic and international flights


Emissions from machinery used in industry, households, agriculture as well as from railways and fishing vessels


Emissions associated with waste handling. Waste incineration with energy recovery is included under “A_PublicPower” or “B_Industry”


Emissions associated with animal husbandry and manure management


All other agricultural emissions, e.g. from application of mineral or organic fertilizer, crops and field operations


Emissions from other anthropogenic sources


Emissions from natural sources, e.g. volcanoes, forest fires, etc.


Emissions from the cruise phase of both domestic and international flights


Emissions from international navigation


Emissions from multilateral operations

In addition to the reporting guidelines, there is also technical guidance for spatial distribution of emissions. The technical guidance is part of the EMEP/EEA Guidebook (EEA, 2013), which also contains the technical guidance for the estimation of air pollution emissions.

The Guidebook provides the general approach for compiling a spatially distributed inventory including guidance for compiling point source data and for computing diffuse emissions. Further, the Guidebook includes a general tiered guidance for the spatial distribution of emissions by sector suggesting possible mapping approaches for different emission source sectors. Also, the Guidebook provides information on possible available spatial datasets, both in general terms at national level, but also with references to specific international spatial datasets that can be used if there is no national data available.