Because transportation on the seas accounts for a considerable share of the total emissions of air pollutants around the world, the Swedish weather and climate agency, SMHI, has teamed with the country's Maritime Administration (Sjöfartsverket) to develop a new system to make precise calculations of the environmental effects of commercial shipping.

"Total emissions from shipping is a very important factor in the atmospheric environment in terms of climate impact and also acidification of waterways," said David Segersson, atmospheric environmental consultant at SMHI. Until now, knowledge concerning this type of pollution has been scarce, although experts already concluded that sulfur from large ships' motor fuels comprises a significant source of contamination.


The maritime administration will provide information about ships and emission factors. This data will be put into a module called "Shipair" that performs emissions calculations.

Using GPS to pinpoint positions of the ships moving around the Baltic and North Sea, the Shipair system describes ships' emissions in detail and indicates their impact on health and the environment. Today, Shipair used only by SMHI, but the intention is to make it available as a web application within a few years for users including environmental authorities, ports and others around the world.

Shipair was developed by the weather authority. The overall project is funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Maritime Administration.

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