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Air pollution impacts due to petroleum extraction in the Norwegian Sea during the ACCESS aircraft campaign

Paolo Tuccella, J.L. Thomas, K.S. Law, JC Raut, Louis Marelle-Sebrechts, A. Roiger, B. Weinzierl, H.A.C. Denier van der Gon, H. Schlager, T. Onishi

Emissions from oil/gas extraction activities in the Arctic are already important in certain regions and may increase as global warming opens up new opportunities for industrial development. Emissions from oil/gas extraction are sources of air pollutants, but large uncertainties exist with regard to their amounts and composition. In this study, we focus on detailed investigation of emissions from oil/gas extraction in the Norwegian Sea combining measurements from the EU ACCESS aircraft campaign in July 2012 and regional chemical transport modeling. The goal is to (1) evaluate emissions from petroleum extraction activities and (2) investigate their impact on atmospheric composition over the Norwegian Sea. Numerical simulations include emissions for permanently operating offshore facilities from two datasets: the TNO-MACC inventory and emissions reported by Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA). It was necessary to additionally estimate primary aerosol emissions using reported emission factors since these emissions are not included in the inventories for our sites. Model runs with the TNO-MACC emissions are unable to reproduce observations close to the facilities. Runs using the NEA emissions more closely reproduce the observations although emissions from mobile facilities are missing from this inventory. Measured plumes suggest they are a significant source of pollutants, in particular NOx and aerosols. Sensitivities to NOx and NMVOC emissions show that, close to the platforms, O3 is sensitive to NOx emissions and is much less sensitive to NMVOC emissions. O3 destruction, via reaction with NO, dominates very close to the platforms. Far from the platforms, oil/gas facility emissions result in an average daytime O3 enhancement of +2% at the surface. Larger enhancements are predicted at noon ranging from +7% at the surface to +15% at 600 m. Black carbon is the aerosol species most strongly influenced by petroleum extraction emissions. The results highlight significant uncertainties in emissions related to petroleum extraction emissions in the Arctic.

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