Methods for identifying aged ship plumes and estimating contribution to aerosol exposure downwind of shipping lanes
Ship traffic is a major source of aerosol particles, particularly near shipping lanes and harbours. In order to estimate the contribution to exposure downwind of a shipping lane, it is important to be able to measure the ship emission contribution at various distances from the source. We report on measurements of atmospheric particles 7–20 km downwind of a shipping lane in the Baltic Sea Sulfur Emission Control Area (SECA) at a coastal location in southern Sweden during a winter and a summer campaign. Each ship plume was linked to individual ship passages using a novel method based on wind field data and automatic ship identification system data (AIS), where varying wind speeds and directions were applied to calculate a plume trajectory. In a situation where AIS data are not matching measured plumes well or if AIS data are missing, we provide an alternative method with particle number concentration data. The shipping lane contribution to the particle number concentration in Falsterbo was estimated by subtracting background concentrations from the ship plume concentrations, and more than 150 plumes were analysed. We have also extrapolated the contribution to seasonal averages and provide recommendations for future similar measurements. Averaged over a season, the contribution to particle number concentration was about 18 % during the winter and 10 % during the summer, including those periods with wind directions when the shipping lane was not affecting the station. The corresponding contribution to equivalent black carbon was 1.4 %.