Comparison of the Impact of Ship Emissions in Northern Europe and Eastern China


It is well known that ship emissions contribute significantly to atmospheric pollution. However, the impact on air quality can regionally vary, as influenced by parameters such as the composition of the regional shipping fleet, state of background atmospheric pollution, and meteorological aspects. This study compared two regions with high shipping densities in 2015. These include the North and Baltic Seas in Europe and the Yellow and East China Seas in China. Here, a key focal point is an evaluation of differences and similarities of the impacts of ship emissions under different environmental conditions, particularly between regions with medium (Europe) and high air pollution (China). To assess this, two similarly performed chemical transport model runs were carried out with highly resolved bottom-up ship emission inventories for northern Europe and China, calculated with the recently developed MoSES model, publicly available emissions data for nonshipping sources (EDGAR, MEIC). The performance of the model was evaluated against measurement data recorded at coastal stations. Annual averages at affected coastal regions for NO2, SO2, O3 and PM2.5 were modeled in Europe to be 3, below 0.3, 2.5, 1 and in China 3, 2, 2–8, 1.5, respectively, all given in μg/m3. In highly affected regions, such as large harbors, the contributions of ship-related emissions modeled in Europe were 15%, 0.3%, −12.5%, 1.25% and in China were 15%, 6%, −7.5%, 2%, respectively. Absolute pollutant concentrations from ships were modeled slightly higher in China than in Europe, albeit the relative impact was smaller in China due to higher emissions from other sectors. The different climate zones of China and the higher level of atmospheric pollution were found to seasonally alter the chemical transformation processes of ship emissions. Especially in northern China, high PM concentrations during winter were found to regionally inhibit the transformation of ship exhausts to secondary PM, and reduce the impact of ship-related aerosols, compared to Europe.
QR Code: Link to publication