We perform a source attribution for tropospheric and ground-level ozone using a novel technique that accounts separately for the contributions of the two chemically distinct emitted precursors (reactive carbon and oxides of nitrogen) to the chemical production of ozone in the troposphere. By tagging anthropogenic emissions of these precursors according to the geographical region from which they are emitted, we determine source–receptor relationships for ground-level ozone. Our methodology reproduces earlier results obtained via other techniques for ozone source attribution, and it also delivers additional information about the modelled processes responsible for the intercontinental transport of ozone, which is especially strong during the spring months. The current generation of chemical transport models used to support international negotiations aimed at reducing the intercontinental transport of ozone shows especially strong inter-model differences in simulated springtime ozone. Current models also simulate a large range of different responses of surface ozone to methane, which is one of the major precursors of ground-level ozone. Using our novel source attribution technique, we show that emissions of NOx (oxides of nitrogen) from international shipping over the high seas play a disproportionately strong role in our model system regarding the hemispheric-scale response of surface ozone to changes in methane, as well as to the springtime maximum in intercontinental transport of ozone and its precursors. We recommend a renewed focus on the improvement of the representation of the chemistry of ship NOx emissions in current-generation models. We demonstrate the utility of ozone source attribution as a powerful model diagnostic tool and recommend that similar source attribution techniques become a standard part of future model intercomparison studies.
- Publication Year
- Publication Type
- Academic Articles
Butler, T. M., Lupascu, A., & Nalam, A. (2020). Attribution of ground-level ozone to anthropogenic and natural sources of nitrogen oxides and reactive carbon in a global chemical transport model. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20(17), 10707-10731. doi:10.5194/acp-20-10707-2020.
- Staff involved
- Projects involved
- Air Quality Modelling for Policy Advice