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Impact of maritime transport emissions on coastal air quality in Europe

Article | 24-03-2014
Photo of a ship with containers

Shipping emissions are currently increasing and will most likely continue to do so in the future due to the increase of global-scale trade. Ship emissions have the potential to contribute to air quality degradation in coastal areas, in addition to contributing to global air pollution. With the aim to quantify the impacts of shipping emissions on urban air quality in coastal areas in Europe, an in depth literature review was carried out focusing on particulate matter and gaseous pollutants but also reviewing the main chemical tracers of shipping emissions, the particle size distribution of ship-derived particulates and their contributions to population exposure and atmospheric deposition. Mitigation strategies were also addressed.

In European coastal areas, shipping emissions contribute with 1-7% of ambient air PM10 levels, 1-14% of PM2.5, and at least 11% of PM1. Contributions from shipping to ambient NO2 levels range between 7 and 24%, with the highest values being recorded in the Netherlands and Denmark. Impacts from shipping emissions on SO2 concentrations were reported for Sweden and Spain. Shipping emissions impact not only the levels and composition of particulate and gaseous pollutants, but may also enhance new particle formation processes in urban areas.

Author(s)Mar Viana, Pieter Hammingh, Augustin Colette, Xavier Querol,Bart Degraeuwe, Ina de Vlieger, John van Aardenne
Publication date24-03-2014
PublicationAtmospheric Environment