journal article

Measurement and modeling of ship-related ultrafine particles and secondary organic aerosols in a Mediterranean port city


Maritime transport emerges as a major source of ultrafine particle (UFP) pollution in coastal regions with consequences for the health of people living in port cities. Inhalation of UFPs can cause inflammation and oxidative stress, which are starting points for further diseases. In addition to primary particles, secondary organic aerosol (SOA) may form through the photo-oxidation of volatile organic compounds emitted in ship exhaust. The characterization of size-segregated and chemical properties of particles is essential for assessing the health implications related to shipping. We applied a coupled regional–local chemistry transport modeling system to study the effects of ship emissions on atmospheric concentrations of UFP and SOA in the Mediterranean port city Marseille (France), which is characterized by the combination of high port activity, industrialized emissions, and active photochemistry in summer. Our results show that the average potential impact from local shipping in the port area was 6–9% for SOA and 27–51% for total particle number concentration in July 2020. The estimated oxidative potential of daily mean particulate organic matter related to shipping was lower than the oxidative potential reported for heavy fuel oil (HFO). The lower oxidative potential in this study is very likely due to the low share of ships using HFO during stopover.
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