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Climate Impacts of Transport
The transport sector is a major emitter of anthropogenic CO2. The annual growth rate of transport-related greenhouse gas emissions is larger than that of other mature industrial sectors. In the light of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol and possible follow-up Protocols, this rate of increase creates a severe problem when trying to achieve emission reduction targets. Additionally, the impact of the transport sector on climate is complex and is mediated through more than just the list of gases in the Kyoto Protocol.
Die Helmholtz-Hochschul-Nachwuchsgruppe SeaKLIM (Einfluss von Schiffsemissionen auf Atmosphäre und Klima) des Instituts für Atmosphäre untersucht zusammen mit dem Institut für Umweltphysik der Universität Bremen die Umwelteffekte des Schiffsverkehrs. Im Jahr 2000 stammten nach SeaKLIM Berechnungen 800 Mio t CO2 oder rund 2,7% aller anthropogenen CO2-Emissionen von Schiffsmotoren. Bei Stickoxiden (NOx) und Schwefeldioxid (SO2) liegen die errechneten Emissionen bei 15% beziehungsweise 8%.
QUANTIFY is an ambitious integrated project funded by the European Commission in the five-year period from March 2005 to February 2010. Its main goal is to quantify the climate impact of global and European transport systems for the present situation and for several scenarios of future development. QUANTIFY uses the collective expertise of 41 participants and 7 member organisations to produce a reliable quantitative assessment of the current climate impacts of various transport modes, as well as of future changes under given transport and climate scenarios. Aside from production of emission inventories, small- and large-scale modelling, analytical studies and remote sensing techniques, QUANTIFY includes a dedicated in-situ aircraft observation campaign and additional shorter aircraft missions. This scope allows for providing policymakers and industry with adequate guidance for decisions, also contributing to European assessments of transport impacts on climate, such as the IPCC reports or within the scope of the EC-funded Specific Support Action ATTICA.
Noise and Air Quality
Transport on road, rail and water ways causes various environmental nuisances. The transport infrastructure consumes land, impairs the landscape and affects the local climate, the quality of soil and ground water. The traffic mainly causes air pollution (gaseous exhausts and particulate matter) and noise. They disperse in the atmosphere where the meteorological conditions (above all the temperature stratification and local / regional air currents) play an important role. Wind and temperature, in turn, are influenced by the topographical situation near the transport routes. High concentrations and noise levels impair the quality of life of the population by causing deceases and annoyances. The situation may even engrave in future because traffic volumes continue to grow.
Noise is one of the most important environmental problems in the vicinity of traffic installations such as airports, roads and railway lines. Traffic noise originates from propulsion, wheels and air flow and is emitted into the atmosphere. The propagation of sound waves in the atmosphere is largely determined by refraction, absorption and scattering depending on the actual state of the atmosphere. Reflections and diffractions at the topography (vegetation, buildings, hills etc.) cause further modifications. Since the topography again influences the atmosphere, the complete system of atmosphere, topography and sound field has to be considered.
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