Model calculations of the effects of present and future emissions of air pollutants from shipping in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea
- 1Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, Norway
- 2Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
- 3TNO, Princetonlaan 6, 3584 CB Utrecht, the Netherlands
Abstract. Land-based emissions of air pollutants in Europe have steadily decreased over the past two decades, and this decrease is expected to continue. Within the same time span emissions from shipping have increased in EU ports and in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, defined as SECAs (sulfur emission control areas), although recently sulfur emissions, and subsequently particle emissions, have decreased. The maximum allowed sulfur content in marine fuels in EU ports is now 0.1%, as required by the European Union sulfur directive. In the SECAs the maximum fuel content of sulfur is currently 1% (the global average is about 2.4%). This will be reduced to 0.1% from 2015, following the new International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules.
In order to assess the effects of ship emissions in and around the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, regional model calculations with the EMEP air pollution model have been made on a 1/4° longitude × 1/8° latitude resolution, using ship emissions in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea that are based on accurate ship positioning data. The effects on depositions and air pollution and the resulting number of years of life lost (YOLLs) have been calculated by comparing model calculations with and without ship emissions in the two sea areas. In 2010 stricter regulations for sulfur emissions were implemented in the two sea areas, reducing the maximum sulfur content allowed in marine fuels from 1.5 to 1%. In addition ships were required to use fuels with 0.1 % sulfur in EU harbours. The calculations have been made with emissions representative of 2009 and 2011, i.e. before and after the implementation of the stricter controls on sulfur emissions from 2010. The calculations with present emissions show that per person, an additional 0.1–0.2 years of life lost is estimated in areas close to the major ship tracks with current emission levels. Comparisons of model calculations with emissions before and after the implementation of stricter emission control on sulfur show a general decrease in calculated particle concentration. At the same time, however, an increase in ship activity has resulted in higher emissions of other components, and subsequently air concentrations, in particular of NOx, especially in and around several major ports.
Additional model calculations have been made with land-based and ship emissions representative of year 2030. Following a decrease in emissions from all sectors, air quality is expected to improve, and depositions to be reduced. Particles from shipping are expected to decrease as a result of emission controls in the SECAs. Further controls of NOx emissions from shipping are not decided, and calculations are presented with and without such controls.