Scientists measure cloud changes in busy ship corridors

THE MARITIME EXECUTIVE | Researchers have measured for the first time exactly how ship emissions affect clouds at a regional scale. The results of the research confirmed earlier computer modeling studies that predicated a sizeable cooling effect due to shipping.

For decades, scientists have theorized that the long, thin cloud patterns referred to as “ship tracks” resulting from the small airborne particles emitted by ships might alter climate by affecting the amount of sunlight reaching the earth’s surface. A team lead by the University of Washington atmospheric scientist Michael Diamond and colleagues examined more than a decade of cloud patterns over a busy shipping lane in the southeast Atlantic that connects Europe to southern Africa and Asia.

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