Nitrogen dioxide pollution (darker is worse)

Article: Wired on shipping pollution

An article on Wired.com led me to this striking composite image created from measurements taken by NASA’s Aura satellite. The satellite measured the amount of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is a pollutant created by various forms of human industry (that’s why the coastal areas are so dark) and by ships’ engines. You can see a distinct line between Singapore and Sri Lanka, site of a major shipping lane. There’s more from NASA on the subject here.

Nitrogen dioxide pollution (darker is worse)
Nitrogen dioxide pollution (darker is worse)

Ships’ tracks are also visible at an atmospheric level, as particles from their exhausts float up into the atmosphere and create what looks like the contrails that form behind aeroplanes. There is an explanation of the process, and an image of those kinds of tracks, here (image reproduced below).

Ship tracks visible in the atmosphere
Ship tracks visible in the atmosphere

The image of these trails is actually a stereo one and if you have a pair of 3D glasses… they won’t help at all!

It’s quite sobering. Our fingerprints are all over this planet.

Read the Wired article here.

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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