Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Air pollution from ships - a serious threat

30.03.2004


Emissions from ships may bring as much nitrogen oxide to the atmosphere as the total amount of emissions coming from the USA. International shipping along the Norwegian coast and in the Northern Atlantic Ocean contributes largely to the formation of ground-level ozone and acidification of the shores.



Air pollution from ships may be twice as bad as shown by previous estimates. In high traffic areas emissions may affect the climate just as much or even more than other forms of emissions. This was stated during a conference on Norwegian climate research, held by the research programme NORKLIMA recently. NORKLIMA is a new and extensive ten year programme focusing on a better understanding of climatic changes in a wide perspective.

A call for action


The transportation of freight by ship is widely regarded as an environmental form of transportation. So far scientists have been uncertain as to what may be the consequences of ships’ exhausts to the environment.

“Emission from ships is one of the fastest growing emission sectors. If the new reports are confirmed, steps must be taken, like we have done with other emission sources,” says Stig Dalsøren at the Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo.

Scientists at the research department of Det norske Veritas (DNV) have concluded that emissions of greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide may contribute to global warming, much like emissions from aviation.

The cooperation between the Department of Geosciences and DNV aims to estimate how shipping affects the formation of ground-level ozone, acidification and global warming.

Like the entire USA

Although the topic is discussed internationally, it is widely agreed upon the fact that previous emission estimates have been too low. Scientists in Germany and the USA claim the emissions are higher than what is shown by the estimates of Norwegian scientists.

“American scientists have concluded that the emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from ships are as high as the entire amount of emissions coming from the USA,” says Stig Dalsøren.

“They claim that a single industry, shipping, is as large a burden to the environment as one of the greatest air polluters of the world.”

Complicated cocktail

Tankers, cargo ships and other vessels emit a complicated “gas cocktail” into the Earth’s atmosphere. The fuel used by many ships, the so-called bunker oil, contains especially large concentrations of nitrogen and sulphur.

In areas with a lot of shipping traffic, for instance in the Northern Atlantic, the scientists show that the ships contribute largely to the formation of ground-level ozone and acidification.

“Emissions form many different gases in the atmosphere, like ozone, known as greenhouse gas, which is hazardous to health, agriculture and vegetation. And there is sulphate, found in acid rain, which also affects the climate,” Dalsøren explains.

“The experts estimate a 100 percent increase in ground-level ozone over the Northern Atlantic Ocean and up to 10 percent increase of the acidification in certain coastal areas,” Dalsøren says.

Expert disagreement

The measurements are based on the sale of ship fuel and engine consumption. However, the level of emissions from ships is hard to estimate, because it is spread all over the world. Scientist Øyvind Endresen and his colleagues at DNV estimate that the total amount of emissions is less than what has been suggested by the Americans.

“There is disagreement about the number of days of operation, the speed and engine power of the ships and how the fuel consumption varies accordingly,” says Dalsøren.

No regulations

According to the scientists, the subject at hand has not been given sufficient attention. This is because it has been hard to measure the extent of the problem.

“The calculations of pollutant emissions have not been good enough. Although it has been suspected that the effects are considerable, there have been few restrictions. And toxic emissions from ships are not included in the Kyoto protocol.”

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has realised that measures must be taken, which will happen when, or if, a sufficient amount of countries ratify a new international convention to reduce emissions from ships.

Paul Torvik Nilsen | The Research Council of Norway
Further information:
http://www.forskningsradet.no/english/news/melding.html/58
http://www.dnv.com

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Error-free into the Quantum Computer Age

A study carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors.

In order to reach their full potential, today’s quantum computer prototypes have to meet specific criteria: First, they have to be made bigger, which means...

Im Focus: Search for planets with Carmenes successful

German and Spanish researchers plan, build and use modern spectrograph

Since 2016, German and Spanish researchers, among them scientists from the University of Göttingen, have been hunting for exoplanets with the “Carmenes”...

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

The body's street sweepers

18.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Fast flowing heat in layered material heterostructures

18.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

Life on the edge prepares plants for climate change

18.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>