Impact of Emission Reductions between 1980 and 2020 on Atmospheric Benzo[a]pyrene Concentrations over Europe


Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) has been proven to be toxic and carcinogenic. Since 2010, the European Union officially established target values for BaP concentrations in ambient air. In this study BaP concentrations over Europe have been modelled using a modified version of the chemistry transport model Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) which includes the relevant reactions of BaP. CMAQ has been run using different emission datasets for the years 1980, 2000, and 2020 as input data. In this study, the changes in BaP concentrations between 1980 and 2020 are evaluated and regions which exceed the European annual target value of 1 ng/m3 are identified, i.e. the Po Valley, the Paris metropolitan area, the Rhine-Ruhr area, Vienna, Madrid, and Moscow. Additionally, the impact of emission reductions on atmospheric concentrations of BaP is investigated. Between 1980 and 2000, half of the BaP emission reductions are due to lower emissions from industrial sources. These emission reductions, however, only contribute to one third of the total ground-level BaP concentration reduction. Further findings are that between 2000 and 2020, a large part (40%) of the BaP concentration reduction is not due to changes in BaP emissions but caused by changes in emissions of criteria pollutants which have an impact on the formation of ozone.
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