Contribution of ship emissions to the concentration and deposition of air pollutants in Europe
Abstract. Emissions from the marine transport sector are one of the least-regulated anthropogenic emission sources and contribute significantly to air pollution. Although strict limits were introduced recently for the maximum sulfur content in marine fuels in the SECAs (sulfur emission control areas) and in EU ports, sulfur emissions outside the SECAs and emissions of other components in all European maritime areas have continued to increase in the last two decades. We have used the air quality model CAMx (Comprehensive Air Quality Model with Extensions) with and without ship emissions for the year 2006 to determine the effects of international shipping on the annual as well as seasonal concentrations of ozone, primary and secondary components of PM2.5, and the dry and wet deposition of nitrogen and sulfur compounds in Europe. The largest changes in pollutant concentrations due to ship emissions were predicted for summer. Concentrations of particulate sulfate increased due to ship emissions in the Mediterranean (up to 60 %), the English Channel and the North Sea (30–35 %), while increases in particulate nitrate levels were found especially in the north, around the Benelux area (20 %), where there were high NH3 land-based emissions. Our model results showed that not only are the atmospheric concentrations of pollutants affected by ship emissions, but also depositions of nitrogen and sulfur compounds increase significantly along the shipping routes. NOx emissions from the ships, especially in the English Channel and the North Sea, cause a decrease in the dry deposition of reduced nitrogen at source regions by moving it from the gas phase to the particle phase which then contributes to an increase in the wet deposition at coastal areas with higher precipitation. In the western Mediterranean region, on the other hand, model results show an increase in the deposition of oxidized nitrogen (mostly HNO3) due to the ship traffic. Dry deposition of SO2 seems to be significant along the shipping routes, whereas sulfate wet deposition occurs mainly along the Scandinavian and Adriatic coasts. The results presented in this paper suggest that evolution of NOx emissions from ships and land-based NH3 emissions will play a significant role in future European air quality.