Changes in domestic heating fuel use in Greece: effects on atmospheric chemistry and radiation
- 1Institute of Environmental Research and Sustainable Development (IERSD), National Observatory of Athens (NOA), Athens 152 36, Greece
- 2Laboratory for Air Pollution/Environmental Technology (EMPA), 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
- 3Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany
- 4Environmental Chemistry Processes Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of Crete, Heraklion, P.O. Box 2208, 71003, Greece
Abstract. For the past 8 years, Greece has been experiencing a major financial crisis which, among other side effects, has led to a shift in the fuel used for residential heating from fossil fuel towards biofuels, primarily wood. This study simulates the fate of the residential wood burning aerosol plume (RWB smog) and the implications on atmospheric chemistry and radiation, with the support of detailed aerosol characterization from measurements during the winter of 2013–2014 in Athens. The applied model system (TNO-MACC_II emissions and COSMO-ART model) and configuration used reproduces the measured frequent nighttime aerosol spikes (hourly PM10 > 75 µg m−3) and their chemical profile (carbonaceous components and ratios). Updated temporal and chemical RWB emission profiles, derived from measurements, were used, while the level of the model performance was tested for different heating demand (HD) conditions, resulting in better agreement with measurements for Tmin < 9 °C. Half of the aerosol mass over the Athens basin is organic in the submicron range, of which 80 % corresponds to RWB (average values during the smog period). Although organic particles are important light scatterers, the direct radiative cooling of the aerosol plume during wintertime is found low (monthly average forcing of –0.4 W m−2 at the surface), followed by a minor feedback to the concentration levels of aerosol species. The low radiative cooling of a period with such intense air pollution conditions is attributed to the timing of the smog plume appearance, both directly (longwave radiation increases during nighttime) and indirectly (the mild effect of the residual plume on solar radiation during the next day, due to removal and dispersion processes).