Could Bright, Foamy Wakes From Ocean Ships Combat Global Warming?

2016-02-03T18:01:52+00:00 February 3, 2016|
Natural foaming agents in the sea—chemicals often derived from phytoplankton—help create bright, white microbubbles in ship wakes that persist for about 10 minutes. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

(Click to enlarge) Natural foaming agents in the sea—chemicals often derived from phytoplankton—help create bright, white microbubbles in ship wakes that persist for about 10 minutes. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Making the wakes of ocean ships brighter could cool the Earth by 0.5°C and help combat global warming, according to a new modeling study. Other geoengineering studies have examined how greenhouse gas warming could be counteracted by making Earth’s atmosphere more reflective.

(From Science/ by Eric Hand) — But this is one of the first to look at using the bright, bubbly wakes of cargo ships as they crisscross the world’s oceans. Natural foaming agents in the sea—chemicals often derived from phytoplankton—help create bright, white microbubbles in ship wakes that persist for about 10 minutes. Now, climate scientists say that designer foaming agents could create even brighter wakes that last much longer. If these supercharged wakes were 10 times brighter and lasted 10 days instead of 10 minutes, they would cover 5.5% of the world’s oceans and cool the planet by 0.5°C by the year 2069, the researchers write in a 28 January publication of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Read the full article here: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/01/could-bright-foamy-wakes-ocean-ships-combat-global-warming