A review on ocean acidification as a result of shipping emissions in harbors

In conjunction with global warming, ocean acidification has become a pressing problem, particularly in sensitive areas such as the Great Barrier Reef. Even though acidification from emissions is spatially non-uniform, it helps in understanding of changes in pH values in surface ocean waters. While averaged across the world’s oceans, ship emissions may have a relatively minor role in total ocean acidification, the intense activity of ships in ports and in shipping lanes can lead to a measurable reduction in pH levels. This occurs due to uptake of exhaust gases such as nitrogen and sulphur oxides and carbon dioxide across the air-sea interface. In other words, polluting emissions get chemically dissolved into the near surface of the sea causing the ocean to turn more acidic. This trend – which in modern times has basically begun since the Industrial Revolution – is considered harmful in a number of direct and indirect ways, including the threat to marine life and the food chain cycle. Several major attempts have been implemented worldwide to tackle the problem, such as emission control and climate engineering. Fleet emission of international trade is believed to highly impact this pattern, since ships are among the world’s highest polluting combustion sources per quantity of fuel consumed. Ship emissions are significantly increasing globally and have remarkably adverse impacts on air quality, on both sea and land. These emissions contribute to seriously harmful health and environmental effects. Territorial waters, inland seas and ports are the areas mostly affected by these emissions. In the search for a sustainable and effective solution, it is important that proper measures are taken in terms of controlling, improving and reducing emissions. Significant progress in estimating international ship emissions has been made in the past decade, however its impact on shore waters is a question requiring deeper attention. Conducting these kinds of research may be seen as useful tools for the improvement of maritime legislation on emissions. This paper is presenting an overview on the same matter, its basic concepts and general knowledge in hand as well as physics and chemistry behind the subject.

Gharahjeh S., Situ R., He Y., Wenxian L. & Brown R., 2017. A review on ocean acidification as a result of shipping emissions in harbors. In Australasian Coasts & Ports 2017: Working with Nature, Barton, ACT: Engineers Australia, PIANC Australia and Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand, pp. 483-486. Article (subscription required).

 

 

 

 

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