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Sailing on a sulfurous sea

The first survey of emissions from commercial shipping has shown them to be big dirty beasts. Daniel Lack from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) measured emissions from ships in the Gulf of Mexico, Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel. He estimated from this that globally ships emit 0.9 teragrams of particle pollution annually. (Press release) But the resulting effect on the climate seems confusing. As reported by Bloomberg, the particulates, including sulfates, organics, cloud condensation nuclei, that commercial carriers spew out act to cool the atmosphere. This effect, the authors say, outweighs the warming effect of ships’ 


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