Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Large Cargo Ships Emit Double Amount of Soot Previously Estimated

Date:
July 11, 2008
Source:
National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration
Summary:
Tugboats puff out more soot for the amount of fuel used than other commercial vessels, and large cargo ships emit more than twice as much soot as previously estimated, according to the first extensive study of commercial vessel soot emissions. In the Arctic, an increase in soot may contribute to climate change if shipping routes expand, according to the study.

Dan Lack observed soot emissions from 96 commercial vessels from aboard NOAA’s Ronald H. Brown, shown docked in Galveston, Texas, in 2006.
Credit: NOAA

Tugboats puff out more soot for the amount of fuel used than other commercial vessels, and large cargo ships emit more than twice as much soot as previously estimated, according to the first extensive study of commercial vessel soot emissions. Scientists from NOAA and the University of Colorado conducted the study and present their findings in the July 11 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Related Articles


The primary sources of soot, or small particles of black carbon, are fossil fuel combustion, wildfires, and burning vegetation for agricultural purposes. In the Arctic, an increase in soot may contribute to climate change if shipping routes expand, according to the study.

“Commercial shipping emissions have been one of the least studied areas of all combustion emissions,” said lead author Daniel Lack, of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) and the NOAA-CU Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. “The two previous studies of soot emissions examined a total of three ships.  We reviewed plumes from 96 different vessels.” 

Lack and his colleagues observed emission plumes from commercial vessels in open ocean waters, channels, and ports along the southeast 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 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.

Tugs emit nearly a gram of soot per kilogram of fuel burned — twice as much as any other vessel type, the authors found. The high levels 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.

“Tugboats are a huge source of black carbon that may be under-reported or not reported at all in emissions inventories compiled by ports,” said Lack.

Oceangoing tankers and container ships emit half a gram per kilogram of fuel burned when at dock and slightly less when traveling, according to the study. That’s more than twice as much as previously estimated.

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, said Lack.

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


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration. "Large Cargo Ships Emit Double Amount of Soot Previously Estimated." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080709103848.htm>.
National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration. (2008, July 11). Large Cargo Ships Emit Double Amount of Soot Previously Estimated. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080709103848.htm
National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration. "Large Cargo Ships Emit Double Amount of Soot Previously Estimated." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080709103848.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) — Ancient techniques of growing greens with fish and water are well ahead of Toronto bylaws. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Slams New England, Spares Mid-Atlantic

Storm Slams New England, Spares Mid-Atlantic

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) — A howling blizzard with wind gusts over 70 mph heaped snow on Boston along with other stretches of lower New England and Long Island on Tuesday, but failed to live up to the hype in Philadelphia and New York City. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mexico's Volcano of Fire Erupts Again

Mexico's Volcano of Fire Erupts Again

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) — A huge plume of smoke shoots into the air as activity in Mexico&apos;s Volcano of Fire picks up again. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Time Lapse: Snow, Frost Piling Up in New York's Times Square

Time Lapse: Snow, Frost Piling Up in New York's Times Square

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 26, 2015) — Video shows the accumulation of snow and frost in New York City&apos;s Times Square over five hours on Monday. Time Lapse (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins