Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Soot From Ships Worse Than Expected

Large cargo ships emit more than twice as much soot as previously estimated, and tugboats puff out more soot for the amount of fuel used than other commercial vessels, according to the first extensive study of commercial vessel emissions.

In the Arctic, an increase in soot may contribute to climate change if shipping routes expand, according to the study.

Oceangoing tankers and container ships emit half a gram of soot per kilogram of fuel burned when at dock and slightly less when traveling, according to scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado (CU) who conducted the new study. Tugs emit nearly a gram of soot per kilogram of fuel burned--twice as much as any other vessel type, the authors find.

"Tugboats are a huge source of black carbon that may be under- reported or not reported at all in emissions inventories compiled by ports," says the study lead author Daniel Lack of NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) and the NOAA-CU Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

He and his colleagues will present their findings on 11 July 2008 in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, or AGU.

Commercial shipping releases roughly 130,000 metric tons of soot per year, or 1.7 percent of the global total--much of it near highly populated coastlines, the authors estimate. In the coming years global shipping is expected to grow two to six percent annually.

Exceptionally high soot levels from tugboats point to their low- quality fuel--a thick, black tar left over from crude oil after the gasoline and kerosene have been removed. Engine age and maintenance also play a role. Tugboats have a disproportionate impact on air quality because they travel within ports, emitting potentially harmful particles near populous urban areas, according to the authors.

To investigate ship emissions, the researchers observed plumes from commercial vessels in open ocean waters, channels, and ports along the southeastern United States and Texas during the summer of 2006. From the NOAA research vessel, Ronald H. Brown, the team measured black carbon emitted by tankers, cargo and container ships, large fishing boats, tug boats, and ferries, many of them in the Houston Ship Channel.

"Commercial shipping emissions have been one of the least studied areas of all combustion emissions," says Lack. "The two previous studies of soot emissions examined a total of three ships. We reviewed plumes from 96 different vessels."

A 2007 study by American and German scientists linked particle pollution from shipping to tens of thousands of premature deaths each year, most of them along coastlines in Europe, East Asia, and South Asia. Soot makes up a quarter of that pollution, says Lack.

The primary sources of soot, or small particles of black carbon, are fossil fuel combustion, wildfires, and burning vegetation for agricultural purposes. On a global scale, soot currently traps about 30 percent as much heat as does carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas, according to the latest assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Small dark soot particles absorb sunlight, create haze, and affect how clouds form and make rain, further altering a region's heat balance, according to the new study. If commercial shipping extends new routes through Arctic waters as they become navigable, soot emissions there could increase.

The NOAA program for climate change funded this study.

Peter Weiss | American Geophysical Union
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica
26.10.2016 | University of California - Irvine

nachricht Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere
25.10.2016 | American Geophysical Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>