Stunning map of global shipping
Researchers at UCL Energy Institute in the UK have used a methodology they developed for the 2014 IMO greenhouse gas study combined with AIS data to estimate emissions from five different ship types and displayed it in a new interactive map that plots 250 million data points to show the movements of the world’s commercial shipping fleet over the course of the year 2012.
The researchers took AIS data showing location and speed of ships and cross-checked it with another database on vessel characteristics, such as engine type and hull measurements. Using this information, they were able to compute the CO2 emissions for each observed hour.
For each ship type as well as for the entire global fleet, the map displays the freight carried and CO2 emitted by the ships. Emissions from international shipping for 2012 were estimated to be 796 million tonnes CO2 which is more than the whole of the U.K., Canada or Brazil emit in a year. This number can be further broken down into 2.18 million tonnes CO2 per day or 90,868 tonnes CO2 per hour.
The map also clearly shows the most crucial shipping thoroughfares of all: the canals linking different bodies of water, such as the Panama Canal, opened a century ago to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, and the even older and busier Suez Canal which saw 17,000 transits in 2012 alone.