Attributing ozone and its precursors to land transport emissions in Europe and Germany

Mariano Mertens, Astrid Kerkweg, Volker Grewe, Patrick Jöckel, Robert Sausen

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Abstract

Land transport is an important emission source of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds. The emissions of nitrogen oxides affect air quality directly. Further, all of these emissions serve as a precursor for the formation of tropospheric ozone, thus leading to an indirect influence on air quality. In addition, ozone is radiatively active and its increase leads to a positive radiative forcing. Due to the strong non-linearity of the ozone chemistry, the contribution of emission sources to ozone cannot be calculated or measured directly. Instead, atmospheric chemistry models equipped with specific source attribution methods (e.g. tagging methods) are required. In this study we investigate the contribution of land transport emissions to ozone and ozone precursors using the MECO(n) model system (MESSy-fied ECHAM and COSMO models nested n times). This model system couples a global and a regional chemistry climate model and is equipped with a tagging diagnostic. We investigate the combined effect of long-range-transported ozone and ozone which is produced by European emissions by applying the tagging diagnostic simultaneously and consistently on the global and regional scale. We performed two simulations each covering 3 years with different anthropogenic emission inventories for Europe. We applied two regional refinements, i.e. one refinement covering Europe (50&thinsp;<span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">km</span> resolution) and one covering Germany (12&thinsp;<span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">km</span> resolution). The diagnosed absolute contributions of land transport emissions to reactive nitrogen (<span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">NOy</span>) near ground level are in the range of 5 to 10&thinsp;<span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">nmol mol-1</span>. This corresponds to relative contributions of 50&thinsp;% to 70&thinsp;%. The largest absolute contributions appear around Paris, southern England, Moscow, the Po Valley, and western Germany. The absolute contributions to carbon monoxide range from 30&thinsp;<span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">nmol mol-1</span> to more than 75&thinsp;<span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">nmol mol-1</span> near emission hot-spots such as Paris or Moscow. The ozone which is attributed to land transport emissions shows a strong seasonal cycle with absolute contributions of 3&thinsp;<span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">nmol mol-1</span> during winter and 5 to 10&thinsp;<span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">nmol mol-1</span> during summer. This corresponds to relative contributions of 8&thinsp;% to 10&thinsp;% during winter and up to 16&thinsp;% during summer. The largest values during summer are confined to the Po Valley, while the contributions in western Europe range from 12&thinsp;% to 14&thinsp;%. Only during summer are the ozone contributions slightly influenced by the anthropogenic emission inventory, but these differences are smaller than the range of the seasonal cycle of the contribution to land transport emissions. This cycle is caused by a complex interplay of seasonal cycles of other emissions (e.g. biogenic) and seasonal variations of the ozone regimes. In addition, our results suggest that during events with large ozone values the ozone contributions of land transport and biogenic emissions increase strongly. Here, the contribution of land transport emissions peaks up to 28&thinsp;%. Hence, our model results suggest that land transport emissions are an important contributor during periods with large ozone values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7843-7873
Number of pages31
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Volume20
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2020

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