The Red Sea releases 220,000 tons of polluting hydrocarbon gases every year
The Red Sea releases 220,000 tons of harmful hydrocarbon gases into the atmosphere each year, more than human pollution caused by the UAE, Kuwait or Turkey.
- Reservoirs of underwater ethane and propane gas escape into the atmosphere
- They are then combined with nitrogen oxides produced when maritime traffic passes.
- The combination of gases creates chemicals harmful to human health.
The Red Sea releases 220,000 tons of harmful hydrocarbon gases into the atmosphere each year, more than the human pollution produced by the UAE or Turkey.
Ethane and propane gas deposits buried under the sea are rising and dripping into the atmosphere, the Max Planck Institute study found.
The gases are filtered from the hydrocarbon deposits in the Gulf of Suez and Aquaba, and then mixed with the fumes of maritime traffic in the region.
The ships release high levels of nitrogen oxides that mix with ethane and propane to produce ozone chemicals that are harmful to human health.
The researchers say that, since ship traffic across the Red Sea and the Suez Canal is expected to continue to increase, regional air quality will deteriorate significantly.
The Red Sea is releasing 220,000 tons of polluting hydrocarbon gases every year, more than the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait or Turkey, according to a new report.
A 2017 direct study of the atmosphere over the northern Red Sea found a concentration of those chemicals 40 times higher than predicted by scientists.
Very little research on the chemistry in the atmosphere over the Red Sea had been done until the 2017 expedition.
Efstratios Bourtsoukidis, an environmental physicist at the German institute, analyzed all possible sources of emissions higher than expected.
They included traffic, agriculture, biomass burning, power generation and oil production, but could not link gas levels with any of those sources.
“Because there was no previous data from this region, we had to perform numerous calculations to find the source,” Bourtsoukidis said.
“In the end we come to an unexpected conclusion: the high concentrations of atmospheric ethane and propane observed originate at the bottom of the North Red Sea,” he said.
Bourtsoukidis said that underwater emissions would not have had an impact on air quality in pre-industrial times because maritime traffic does not pump nitrogen oxides.
‘These gases interact with ethane and propane and result in the production of tropospheric ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrates.
“Both elements are very harmful to human health,” Bourtsoukidis said.
Underwater gas sources came from the direct filtration of fluids from hydrocarbon deposits deposited on sea rocks, density outlets trapped at the bottom of the Gulf of Suez and Aqaba and direct emissions from some brine pools.
He said that these hydrocarbons are transported to the surface by water currents and finally released into the atmosphere.
Bourtsoukidis said that underwater emissions would not have had an impact on air quality in pre-industrial times because maritime traffic does not pump nitrogen oxides
“The amount of gases released is exceptionally high and comparable to total anthropogenic emissions from entire Middle Eastern countries such as Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait,” said Bourtsoukidis.
The measurements were made in the summer and, due to the way deep water circulation works, emissions in the winter would probably be higher, according to the team.
They say that with the increase in shipping levels in the region, the impact of submarine gases will only increase.
“In the coming decades, ship traffic across the Red Sea and the Suez Canal is expected to continue to increase strongly, with a concomitant increase in nitrogen oxide emissions.”
“Such an increase will amplify the role of this source, which will lead to a significant deterioration of regional air quality.”
The study findings have been published in the journal. Nature Communications.
HOW MUCH WILL THE LEVELS OF THE SEA INCREASE IN THE NEXT CENTURIES?
The scientists warned that global sea levels could rise up to 1.2 meters (4 feet) to 2300 even if we meet the Paris climate targets by 2015.
The long-term change will be driven by an ice thaw from Greenland to Antarctica that is scheduled to redraw the world’s coasts.
The rising sea level threatens cities from Shanghai to London, to lower areas of Florida or Bangladesh, and to entire nations such as the Maldives.
It is vital that we reduce emissions as soon as possible to avoid an even greater increase, said a team of researchers led by Germany in a new report.
By 2300, the report projected that sea levels would rise by 0.7-1.2 meters, even if almost 200 nations fully met the objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The objectives set by the agreements include reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero net in the second half of this century.
Ocean levels will rise inexorably because industrial gases that trap heat already emitted will remain in the atmosphere, melting more ice, he said.
In addition, water expands naturally as it heats to more than four degrees Celsius (39.2 ° F).
Every five years of delay beyond 2020 at the peak of global emissions would mean an additional increase of 20 centimeters (8 inches) from sea level by 2300.
“Sea level is often communicated as a really slow process that cannot be done much … but the next 30 years really matter,” said lead author Dr. Matthias Mengel of the Potsdam Institute for Research on Climate Impact, in Potsdam, Germany, told Reuters.
None of the nearly 200 governments that signed the Paris Accords are on their way to keeping their promises.