Caring about the future

AIRSHIP - Impact of maritime and port emissions in the air quality of Portugal: present and future scenarios. A regional and local scale approach
Coordinator - Alexandra Monteiro
Programme - Programa Operacional da Competitividade e Internacionalização (PTDC/AAG-MAA/1581/2014)
Execution dates - 2016-06-01 - 2019-05-31 (36 Months)
Funding Entity - FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia; FEDER - Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional
Funding for CESAM - 113054 €
Total Funding - 113054 €
Proponent Institution - Universidade de Aveiro

Project Description

Due to its dependence on fossil fuel combustion and the fact that it is one of the least regulated anthropogenic emission sources, emissions from the marine transport sector can contribute significantly to air pollution and climate change. The AIRSHIP project aims to evaluate the impact of maritime transport emissions on the air quality in Portugal and, with greater detail, in the Porto urban area, for present and future (2020-2030 projections) climate scenarios. In order to achieve this, high resolution and precision detailed emissions scenarios are required, together with the physical-chemical modelling of atmospheric processes, thus enabling a thorough understanding of the contribution of the aforementioned emissions to air quality. The impact of these on Portuguese air quality will be investigated, with particular emphasis on the Porto urban area including a local scale case study of the Port of Leixões.

Taking into account the obtained modelling results, at regional and local (case study) scales, strategies for the efficient mitigation of maritime transport pollution in the studied area will be investigated and oriented guidelines for their implementation will be elaborated.

To this purpose, the project is structured in 4 tasks:
1. Development and assessment of present and projected future maritime transport emissions scenarios for the Portugal and the detailed Porto urban area domains;
2. Evaluation of the impact of the developed emissions scenarios on air quality using numerical modelling;
3. Case study: Port of Leixões;
4. Development of measures/strategies to mitigate adverse effects on the air quality in Portugal and, particularly, in the Porto urban area.

Emissions estimates for the Porto urban area will be carried out at high spatial (1x1 km2) and temporal resolutions using a top-down approach for the disaggregation of national data and a bottom-up methodology when updated emission factors and activity data will be available. The emissions estimates for future scenarios (2020-2030) will be based on European projections and updated taking into account expected national policies and strategies. 
The numerical modelling - study tool supported by the European Air Quality Directive (2008/50/EC) - will be performed with the WRF-CHIMERE modelling system, amply tested and validated for the Portugal domain. Primarily, the model will be applied at the regional scale (Portugal), followed by the downscaling to the Porto urban area, using nesting techniques, at a high spatial resolution (1x1 km2). The results obtained from the climate modelling for Portugal (using the WRF model) of the CLICURB project (EXCL/AAG-MAA/0383/2012) will be employed as air quality inputs for future scenarios, this with the aim of integrating climatic conditions (as well as the aforementioned emissions projections) in the assessment of future air quality.

The Port of Leixões case study will complement the evaluation of the impact of maritime emissions by including emissions associated to the port activities and the local scale numerical simulations, employing the OpenFOAM computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model, as well as the physical simulations in the wind tunnel, enabling comparisons and model validation. Therefore, the AIRSHIP project will produce important scientific results to aid the management and political actions in the maritime transport sector and its environmental impacts, in particular for the Port of Leixões case study. The main expected outcomes are:
- Increased insight in the level of maritime transport emissions (present and future scenarios) for Portugal and the Porto urban area;
- Evaluation of the impact of maritime emissions on regional (Portugal) and urban (Porto) air quality;
- Thorough understanding of emissions that result from port activities (Port of Leixões case study) and related impacts on local air quality;
- Development of air pollution mitigation strategies concerning the maritime transport and port sectors.

The applied tools and methodologies, and the defined strategies, are challenging and innovative. The theme of the investigation is pertinent, complex and multidisciplinary. The competences of each of the team members cover a wide range of research areas, namely, atmospheric emissions, climate analysis, air pollution and numerical modelling, as well as strategic and political analysis. The scientific knowledge of the UA team in numerical modelling development and application, particularly in impact evaluations, climate change, regulation, prediction and human exposure, together with the participation of the Portuguese Maritime Administration as consultant (Engº Fernando Braga) and the stakeholders institutions (CCDRN and APDL) will be fundamental and decisive for the accomplishment and success of the project.

Project webpage

CESAM Funding: UIDP/50017/2020 + UIDB/50017/2020 + LA/P/0094/2020