Characterization of Particulate Emissions from Ships from In Situ Measurements

EPA Grant Number: R834558
Title: Characterization of Particulate Emissions from Ships from In Situ Measurements
Investigators: Cappa, Christopher D
Institution: University of California - Davis
EPA Project Officer: Hunt, Sherri
Project Period: April 1, 2010 through March 31, 2013 (Extended to March 31, 2014)
Project Amount: $249,999
RFA: Novel Approaches to Improving Air Pollution Emissions Information (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Air


Field measurements of light absorption and light extinction by ambient particles will be made as part of the CalNex campaign, with a specific focus on emissions from ships.


Atmospheric aerosol particles have important influences on global climate, precipitation, visibility and human health. Direct emissions of particulate matter from commercial ships are a growing concern, yet emissions inventories for ships are based on an extremely limited data set. This proposal aims to significantly expand our understanding of particulate matter (PM) emissions from large ocean going vessels, especially container ships, through measurements made as part of the CalNex field campaign.


Light absorption, which is a proxy for black carbon (BC), and light extinction by ambient particulate matter will be measured using photoacoustic and cavity-ringdown spectrometers, respectively, on board the R/V Atlantis as part of the CalNex field campaign. Measurements will be made along the California (CA) coast, with a particular emphasis on regions near large shipping ports, such as the Port of Long Beach. A specific focus will be on characterization of PM emissions from ships. Variability in mass absorption efficiency will be characterized from in situ measurements with high temporal resolution. Ship plume ageing experiments will be conducted by intercepting plumes from individual vessels at different downwind distances.

Expected Results:

We expect that our measurements, in conjunction with other simultaneously made measurements, will allow for better constraints on the real-world variability of BC (and other particle type) emission factors from ships and will establish to what extent this variability depends on fuel-type, engine load and vessel type. This will allow for the better development of PM emissions inventories for ships and thus our understanding of their impacts on local air quality and global climate.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 19 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 10 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

soot, Pacific coast, EPA Region 9, Environmental chemistry and engineering,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2010 Progress Report
  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • Final Report