journal article

A multimodel evaluation of the potential impact of shipping on particle species in the Mediterranean Sea


Shipping contributes significantly to air pollutant emissions and atmospheric particulate matter (PM) concentrations. At the same time, worldwide maritime transport volumes are expected to continue to rise in the future. The Mediterranean Sea is a major short-sea shipping route within Europe and is the main shipping route between Europe and East Asia. As a result, it is a heavily trafficked shipping area, and air quality monitoring stations in numerous cities along the Mediterranean coast have detected high levels of air pollutants originating from shipping emissions. The current study is a part of the EU Horizon 2020 project SCIPPER (Shipping Contributions to Inland Pollution – Push for the Enforcement of Regulations), which intends to investigate how existing restrictions on shipping-related emissions to the atmosphere ensure compliance with legislation. To demonstrate the impact of ships on relatively large scales, the potential shipping impacts on various air pollutants can be simulated with chemical transport models. To determine the formation, transport, chemical transformation, and fate of particulate matter<2.5 μm (PM2:5) in the Mediterranean Sea in 2015, five different regional chemical transport models (CAMx – Comprehensive Air Quality Model with Extensions, CHIMERE, CMAQ – Community Multiscale Air Quality model, EMEP – European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme model, and LOTOS-EUROS) were applied. Furthermore, PM2:5 precursors (ammonia (NH3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitric acid (HNO3)) and inorganic particle species (sulfate (SO42-), ammonia (NH4+), nitrate (NO3-)) were studied, as they are important for explaining differences among the models. STEAM (see “List of abbreviations” in Appendix A) version 3.3.0 was used to compute shipping emissions, and the CAMS-REG version 2.2.1 dataset was used to calculate land-based emissions for an area encompassing the Mediterranean Sea at a resolution of 12x12 km2 (or 0.1° x 0.1°). For additional input, like meteorological fields and boundary conditions, all models utilized their regular configuration. The zero-out approach was used to quantify the potential impact of ship emissions on PM2:5 concentrations. The model results were compared with observed background data from monitoring sites. Four of the five models underestimated the actual measured PM2:5 concentrations. These underestimations are linked to model-specific mechanisms or underpredictions of particle precursors. The potential impact of ships on the PM2:5 concentration is between 15% and 25% at the main shipping routes. Regarding particle species, SO42- is the main contributor to the absolute ship-related PM2:5 and to total PM2:5 concentrations. In the shiprelated PM2:5, a higher share of inorganic particle species can be found when compared with the total PM2:5. The seasonal variabilities in particle species show that NO3- is higher in winter and spring, while the NH4+ concentrations displayed no clear seasonal pattern in any models. In most cases with high concentrations of both NH4+and NO3-, lower SO42- concentrations are simulated. Differences among the simulated particle species distributions might be traced back to the aerosol size distribution and how models distribute emissions between the coarse and fine modes (PM2:5 and PM10). The seasonality of wet deposition follows the seasonality of the precipitation, showing that precipitation predominates wet deposition.
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