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Instituto de Investigação
em Vulcanologia e Avaliação de Riscos

Artigos em revistas ► internacionais com arbitragem


Referência Bibliográfica

BERNARDO, F., GARCIA, P., RODRIGUES, A. (2023) - Air quality at Ponta Delgada city (Azores) is unaffected so far by growing cruise ship transit in recent years. Atmosphere, 14, 188, doi: 10.3390/atmos14010188.


The ease of travel allowed by contemporary means of long-range transportation has brought increasingly higher numbers of visitors to remote and relatively undisturbed insular territories. In a framework of environmental conservation of the natural patrimony, sustainably accommodating touristic flooding and the associated polluting footprint poses a demanding challenge. Over the past decade, Ponta Delgada, the largest city of the mid-Atlantic Azores archipelago, has become a hotspot for transatlantic cruise ship (CS) lines in spring and autumn. CSs are substantial contributors to the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), as well as hazardous sulphur (SOx) and nitrogen (NOx) oxides. It is hereby retrospectively investigated whether the background levels of air pollutants were raised following the CS influx at Ponta Delgada, which conventionally displays great air quality. The daily CS traffic at the local harbor was associated with the daily concentrations of air pollutants (SO2, O3, NO2, NOx, PM10 and PM2.5), monitored by the local urban background monitoring station (~1.3 km northwards). Exceedances above daily legislated limits from 2013 until 2020 only occurred sporadically for PM10 and PM2.5, often during episodes of natural dust storms. No major correlation was found between CS parameters with the recorded values of pollutants, although a noticeable signal of NOX increase of southern origin is observed during spring days with CS presence. Daily data suggest CS influx has not strongly influenced background air quality. A near-source, real-time monitoring network should be implemented in the city to provide the necessary spatial and temporal resolution for tracking short-term fluctuations in air pollutants during CS arrivals and departures.