Constraints on ship NOx emissions in Europe using GEOS-Chem and OMI satellite NO2 observations

G. C. M. Vinken, K. F. Boersma, A. van Donkelaar, L. Zhang
2014 Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics  
<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> We present a top-down ship NO<sub>x</sub> emission inventory for the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Bay of Biscay and the Mediterranean Sea based on satellite-observed tropospheric NO<sub>2</sub> columns of the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) for 2005–2006. We improved the representation of ship emissions in the GEOS-Chem chemistry transport model, and compared simulated NO<sub>2</sub> columns to consistent satellite observations. Relative differences between
more » ... erences between simulated and observed NO<sub>2</sub> columns have been used to constrain ship emissions in four European seas (the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Bay of Biscay and the Mediterranean Sea) using a mass-balance approach, and accounting for non-linear sensitivities to changing emissions in both model and satellite retrieval. These constraints are applied to 39 % of total top-down European ship NO<sub>x</sub> emissions, which amount to 0.96 Tg N for 2005, and 1.0 Tg N for 2006 (11–15% lower than the bottom-up EMEP ship emission inventory). Our results indicate that EMEP emissions in the Mediterranean Sea are too high (by 60%) and misplaced by up to 150 km, which can have important consequences for local air quality simulations. In the North Sea ship track, our top-down emissions amount to 0.05 Tg N for 2005 (35% lower than EMEP). Increased top-down emissions were found for the Baltic Sea and the Bay of Biscay ship tracks, with totals in these tracks of 0.05 Tg N (131% higher than EMEP) and 0.08 Tg N for 2005 (128% higher than EMEP), respectively. Our study explicitly accounts for the (non-linear) sensitivity of satellite retrievals to changes in the a priori NO<sub>2</sub> profiles, as satellite observations are never fully independent of model information (i.e. assumptions on vertical NO<sub>2</sub> profiles). Our study provides for the first time a space-based, top-down ship NO<sub>x</sub> emission inventory, and can serve as a framework for future studies to constrain ship emissions using satellite NO<sub>2</sub> observations in other seas.</p>
doi:10.5194/acp-14-1353-2014 fatcat:2s4aozelyjbg3j6juqyapba43e