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Scientific journal publication

Emission ensemble approach to improve the development of multi-scale emission inventories

Thunis, Philippe; Kuenen, Jeroen; Pisoni, Enrico; Bessagnet, Bertrand; Banja, Manjola; Gawuc, Lech; Szymankiewicz, Karol; Guizardi, Diego; Crippa, Monica; Lopez-Aparicio, Susana; Guevara, Marc; de Meij, Alexander; Schindlbacher, Sabine; Clappier, Alain

Publication details

Journal: Geoscientific Model Development, vol. 17, 3631–3643, 2024

Doi: doi.org/10.5194/gmd-17-3631-2024

Many studies have shown that emission inventories are one of the inputs with the most critical influences on the results of air quality modelling. Comparing emission inventories among themselves is, therefore, essential to build confidence in emission estimates. In this work, we extend the approach of Thunis et al. (2022) to compare emission inventories by building a benchmark that serves as a reference for comparisons. This benchmark is an ensemble that is based on three state-of-the-art EU-wide inventories: CAMS-REG, EMEP and EDGAR. The ensemble-based methodology screens differences between inventories and the ensemble. It excludes differences that are not relevant and identifies among the remaining ones those that need special attention. We applied the ensemble-based screening to both an EU-wide and a local (Poland) inventory.

The EU-wide analysis highlighted a large number of inconsistencies. While the origin of some differences between EDGAR and the ensemble can be identified, their magnitude remains to be explained. These differences mostly occur for SO2 (sulfur oxides), PM (particulate matter) and NMVOC (non-methane volatile organic carbon) for the industrial and residential sectors and reach a factor of 10 in some instances. Spatial inconsistencies mostly occur for the industry and other sectors.

At the local scale, inconsistencies relate mostly to differences in country sectorial shares that result from different sectors/activities being accounted for in the two types of inventories. This is explained by the fact that some emission sources are omitted in the local inventory due to a lack of appropriate geographically allocated activity data. We identified sectors and pollutants for which discussion between local and EU-wide emission compilers would be needed in order to reduce the magnitude of the observed differences (e.g. in the residential and industrial sectors).

The ensemble-based screening proved to be a useful approach to spot inconsistencies by reducing the number of necessary inventory comparisons. With the progressive resolution of inconsistencies and associated inventory improvements, the ensemble will improve. In this sense, we see the ensemble as a useful tool to motivate the community around a single common benchmark and monitor progress towards the improvement of regionally and locally developed emission inventories.