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GLOBOX is a spatially differentiated multimedia fate, exposure and effect model. It is used for the calculation of spatially differentiated LCA characterisation factors on a global scale.

CML - Afdeling Industriële Ecologie
29 juni 2015

The GLOBOX model

GLOBOX is an executable software model for deriving the global multimedia fate, exposure, and effects of emissions as a function of characteristics of substances (e.g. Kow), of the environment (e.g. average temperature), and of human exposure characteristics (e.g. food consumption patterns). It is largely based on the European Union model EUSES version 2.0 (current version is 2.1.2). The GLOBOX model has a global range, however, and it is spatially differentiated at the level of individual, interconnected countries, seas, and oceans. The GLOBOX model and parameter set were developed by  Anneke Sleeswijk
GLOBOX consists of three main modules:

  • an impact-category independent fate module;
  • a human-intake module, applicable to all impact categories that are related to human intake of chemicals;
  • an effect module, in which effect-related parameters can be introduced for every separate impact category.

Although the GLOBOX model has been specifically developed for the purpose of the calculation of LCA characterisation factors, it can be used for any purpose for which a global multimedia model is useful, including a first, indicative risk assessment of chemicals. (For a fine-tuned assessment of local risks, results should be supplemented with the results of local scale models.) 
The idea behind GLOBOX is that it should be possible to construct region specific characterisation factors for any emission in any region of the world, taking into account the summed impacts of such emission in all countries and at all seas and oceans among which it is dispersed during its lifetime. 
The GLOBOX package (version 14 September 2010) contains a substance data collection for 3402 substances, collected in the context of the USES-LCA 2.0 model (Van Zelm et al., 2009), with special thanks to Mark Huijbregts and Rosalie van Zelm, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. (See also  Radboud University)

The GLOBOX formularium

The GLOBOX formularium is a model description in terms of underlying equations.

GLOBACK: the GLOBOX parameter sets

The GLOBACK parameter sets contain the spatially differentiated parameters for the GLOBOX model. 
The GLOBACK parameters have a global coverage, but are differentiated on a number of different levels:

  • individual countries, seas, and oceans;
  • regions, as distinguished in the  Ecoinvent Life Cycle Inventory database;
  • continents;
  • international organisations (EU, OECD);
  • ‘land’ versus ‘sea’;
  • the global level.

The GLOBACK parameter set has been subdivided in two parts. 
Part 1 contains all the basic parameters that appear in the GLOBOX equations for region-specific intermedia transfer - including a complete, spatially differentiated water balance for the entire global system - and a set of human exposure related parameters, based on country-specific consumption patterns. In this part, the following categories of parameters are distinguished:

  • geographic parameters;
  • climatological parameters;
  • geophysical parameters;
  • intermedia transfer parameters;
  • air parameters;
  • water balance parameters;
  • human exposure related parameters.

Part 2 contains the parameters that are related to interregional air and water transport between individual countries, seas, and oceans. In this part, the following categories of parameters are distinguished:

  • boundaries between countries;
  • boundaries between seas/oceans;
  • boundaries between countries and seas/oceans;
  • river flows between countries;
  • groundwater flows between countries;
  • surface water flows from countries to seas/oceans;
  • marine water flows between oceans.

GLOBACK parameters are largely based on existing data. Where data were lacking for certain countries, assumptions have been made, most often on the basis of the corresponding data of neighbouring or relatively nearby countries. Assumptions have also been made for parameters on which no direct data were available, e.g. assumptions on human consumption of food stuffs on the basis of a combination of given availability per capita, estimated losses due to the removal of skins, shells, bones etcetera, and assumed losses, due to discarding. 
The ‘background’ worksheets added in part 1 provide some basic information on how parameters have been derived from the original data sources, and are meant to provide some insight in assumptions that have been made to fill up data gaps. 
The GLOBACK 2.0 version is an update of GLOBACK 1.0. Updates include:

  • correction of errors;
  • adaptation to developments with respect to the GLOBOX model.

GLOBACK North America: an extension of GLOBACK part 1

Further spatial differentiation has been applied to the GLOBACK parameters of part 1 for the United State and Canada. These spatially differentiated parameters are added in the separate parameter set ‘GLOBACK North America’. Note that most values for the spatially differentiated North American parameters have been collected independently, which implies that there sums or average values (as applicable) may not always correspond exactly to the overall values for the United States and Canada in the general GLOBACK 2.0 parameter set.


The copyright of the information provided on these web pages rests with the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden University, The Netherlands. For non-commercial purposes only, citation of information from GLOBACK is permitted under the following conditions: Proper reference should be made to both CML and the author Anneke Wegener Sleeswijk:

  1. Wegener Sleeswijk, A. and R. Heijungs (2010) GLOBOX: a spatially differentiated global fate, intake and effect model for toxicity assessment in LCA.  Science of the Total Environment  408(14):2817-2832. 
    | online available at  Elsevier |
  2. For extensive use or quotation, written notification should be sent to CML, either by e-mail (secr-cml@cml.leidenuniv.nl) or by ordinary mail, providing your name, institute, e-mail address, and a short description of the purpose for which you want to use the information


The GLOBACK spreadsheets provided on these web pages contain the spatially differentiated basic parameters of the GLOBOX model. The GLOBOX model is a multimedia fate, exposure and effect model, designed for the calculation of LCA characterisation factors for toxicity-related impact categories. The GLOBACK parameter set and the GLOBOX model are distributed on an "AS IS" basis, without warranty. Neither the author, nor the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), nor Leiden University, make any representation, or warranty, either expressed or implied, with respect to the parameter set as such, or its quality, accuracy or fitness for a specific purpose. Therefore, neither the author, nor the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), nor Leiden University, shall have any liability to you or any other person or entity with respect to damage caused - or alleged to have been caused - directly or indirectly by the use, citation or any other application of this parameter set or of any information contained in it. 
Neither the author, nor the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), nor Leiden University, can be held responsible for any error, incompleteness or other flaw in the information provided, nor for abuse thereof, nor for the results of the application of this information.


The GLOBOX model is available an executable software program:

  • GLOBOX (version 1.0; 14 September 2010; 5.1 MB)

The GLOBOX forumlarium is available in PDF-format:

The GLOBACK spreadsheets are available in Microsoft Excel (zipped):

More information

For more information please visit the  Globright website.

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