Constraints on ship NO x emissions in Europe using GEOS-Chem and OMI satellite NO 2 observations

Vinken, G. C. M.; Boersma, K. F.; van Donkelaar, A.; Zhang, L.

We present a top-down ship NO x emission inventory for the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Bay of Biscay and the Mediterranean Sea based on satellite-observed tropospheric NO 2 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 2 columns to consistent satellite observations. Relative differences between simulated and observed NO 2 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 x 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 2 profiles, as satellite observations are never fully independent of model information (i.e. assumptions on vertical NO 2 profiles). Our study provides for the first time a space-based, top-down ship NO x emission inventory, and can serve as a framework for future studies to constrain ship emissions using satellite NO 2 observations in other seas.

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Vinken, G. C. M. / Boersma, K. F. / van Donkelaar, A. / et al: Constraints on ship NOx emissions in Europe using GEOS-Chem and OMI satellite NO2 observations. 2014. Copernicus Publications.

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