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Detection of anomalously emitting ships through deviations from predicted TROPOMI NO2 retrievals

by   Solomiia Kurchaba, et al.

Starting from 2021, more demanding NO_x emission restrictions were introduced for ships operating in the North and Baltic Sea waters. Since all methods currently used for ship compliance monitoring are financially and time demanding, it is important to prioritize the inspection of ships that have high chances of being non-compliant. The current state-of-the-art approach for a large-scale ship NO_2 estimation is a supervised machine learning-based segmentation of ship plumes on TROPOMI images. However, challenging data annotation and insufficiently complex ship emission proxy used for the validation limit the applicability of the model for ship compliance monitoring. In this study, we present a method for the automated selection of potentially non-compliant ships using a combination of machine learning models on TROPOMI/S5P satellite data. It is based on a proposed regression model predicting the amount of NO_2 that is expected to be produced by a ship with certain properties operating in the given atmospheric conditions. The model does not require manual labeling and is validated with TROPOMI data directly. The differences between the predicted and actual amount of produced NO_2 are integrated over different observations of the same ship in time and are used as a measure of the inspection worthiness of a ship. To assure the robustness of the results, we compare the obtained results with the results of the previously developed segmentation-based method. Ships that are also highly deviating in accordance with the segmentation method require further attention. If no other explanations can be found by checking the TROPOMI data, the respective ships are advised to be the candidates for inspection.


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