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 Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

nachricht Species Richness – a false friend? Scientists want to improve biodiversity assessments
01.08.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

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: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>