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Gaseous and Particle Emissions of International Shipping as seen by Satellites

Heinrich Bovensmann(1), Veronica Eyring(2), Mathias Schreier(1), John Burrows(1) and Klaus Franke(1)

(1) University of Bremen, FB 1, P.O. Box 33 40 40, D-28334 Bremen, Germany
(2) DLR, Oberpaffenhofen, D-82234 Wessling, Germany


Seagoing ships emit exhaust gases and particles into the marine boundary layer and significantly contribute to the total budget of anthropogenic emissions from the transportation sector. For example, annual NOx emission from ships are similar to NOx emission from road traffic. In addition aerosol (or particulate matter PM) from ships is by far the dominating component from all transport-related PM emissions. For an accurate assessment of the impact of emissions from shipping on the atmosphere and to improve transportation management w.r.t. the environmental impact of international shipping, detailed knowledge on the emission patterns and fluxes is required.

With the availability of satellite sensors being able to detect relevant trace gases (here NO2) and aerosols with sufficient spatial resolution to identify emissions along the major shipping corridors, new methods are emerging to verify bottom-up emission inventories and to estimate the climate effect of shipping activity with data from satellite observations. For example, tropospheric NO2 data from the SCIAMACHY (Scanning Imaging Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CHartographY) instrument on board the ENVISAT satellite shows clear indication for NO2 produced from ship emissions over the Red Sea and along the main shipping lane to the southern tip of India, to Indonesia and north towards China and Japan. In addition, aerosols emitted by ships significantly change cloud optical thicknes and droplet size, which is observable from satelite instruments like AATSR or MODIS. With these data the impact of cloud modifications by ships on the Earth radiation budget can be estimated.

The talk will give first results of observing shipping emissions like NO2 and aerosol from satellites. The results highlight the importance of ship emissions for the marine boundary layer and at the same time demonstrate the potential of satellite observations to estimate and monitor the global impact of ship emissions.


Workshop presentation

Full paper

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry