Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Feb 2023)

Potential impact of shipping on air pollution in the Mediterranean region – a multimodel evaluation: comparison of photooxidants NO<sub>2</sub> and O<sub>3</sub>

  • L. Fink,
  • M. Karl,
  • V. Matthias,
  • S. Oppo,
  • R. Kranenburg,
  • J. Kuenen,
  • J. Moldanova,
  • S. Jutterström,
  • J.-P. Jalkanen,
  • E. Majamäki

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 23
pp. 1825 – 1862


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Shipping has a significant share in the emissions of air pollutants such as NOx and particulate matter (PM), and the global maritime transport volumes are projected to increase further in the future. The major route for short sea shipping within Europe and the main shipping route between Europe and East Asia are found in the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, it is a highly frequented shipping area, and high levels of air pollutants with significant potential impacts from shipping emissions are observed at monitoring stations in many cities along the Mediterranean coast. The present study is part of the EU H2020 project SCIPPER (Shipping contribution to Inland Pollution Push for the Enforcement of Regulations). Five different regional chemistry transport models (CAMx – Comprehensive Air Quality Model with Extensions, CHIMERE, CMAQ, EMEP – European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme, LOTOS-EUROS) were used to simulate the transport, chemical transformation and fate of atmospheric pollutants in the Mediterranean Sea for 2015. Shipping emissions were calculated with the Ship Traffic Emission Assessment Model (STEAM) version 3.3.0, and land-based emissions were taken from the CAMS-REG v2.2.1 dataset for a domain covering the Mediterranean Sea at a resolution of 12 km × 12 km (or 0.1∘×0.1∘). All models used their standard setup for further input. The potential impact of ships was calculated with the zero-out method. The model results were compared to each other and to measured background data at monitoring stations. The model results differ regarding the time series and pattern but are similar concerning the overall underestimation of NO2 and overestimation of O3. The potential impact from ships on the total NO2 concentration was especially high on the main shipping routes and in coastal regions (25 % to 85 %). The potential impact from ships on the total O3 concentration was lowest in regions with the highest NO2 impact (down to −20%). CAMx and CHIMERE simulated the highest potential impacts of ships on the NO2 and O3 air concentrations. Additionally, the strongest correlation was found between CAMx and CHIMERE, which can be traced back to the use of the same meteorological input data. The other models used different meteorological input due to their standard setup. The CMAQ-, EMEP- and LOTOS-EUROS-simulated values were within one range for the NO2 and O3 air concentrations. Regarding simulated deposition, larger differences between the models were found when compared to air concentration. These uncertainties and deviations between models are caused by deposition mechanisms, which are unique within each model. A reliable output from models simulating ships' potential impacts can be expected for air concentrations of NO2 and O3.