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Impacts of the Large Increase in International Ship Traffic 2000-2007 on Tropospheric Ozone and Methane

Stig Bjørløw Dalsøren, Magnus Strandmyr Eide, Gunnar Myhre, Øyvind Endresen, Ivar S A Isaksen, Jan S. Fuglestvedt

The increase in civil world fleet ship emissions during the period 2000−2007 and the effects on key tropospheric oxidants are quantified using a global Chemical Transport Model (CTM). We estimate a substantial increase of 33% in global ship emissions over this period. The impact of ship emissions on tropospheric oxidants is mainly caused by the relatively large fraction of NOx in ship exhaust. Typical increases in yearly average surface ozone concentrations in the most impacted areas are 0.5−2.5 ppbv. The global annual mean radiative forcing due to ozone increases in the troposphere is 10 mWm−2 over the period 2000−2007. We find global average tropospheric OH increase of 1.03% over the same period. As a result of this the global average tropospheric methane concentration is reduced by approximately 2.2% over a period corresponding to the turnover time. The resulting methane radiative forcing is −14 mWm−2 with an additional contribution of −6 mWm−2 from methane induced reduction in ozone. The net forcing of the ozone and methane changes due to ship emissions changes between 2000 and 2007 is −10 mWm−2. This is significant compared to the net forcing of these components in 2000. Our findings support earlier observational studies indicating that ship traffic may be a major contributor to recent enhancement of background ozone at some coastal stations. Furthermore, by reducing global mean tropospheric methane by 40 ppbv over its turnover time it is likely to contribute to the recent observed leveling off in global mean methane concentration.

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