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Watch cargo ships sail Earth's oceans: Hypnotic interactive map follows the route of giant vessels over a year

Science:
Watch cargo ships sail Earth's oceans: Hypnotic interactive map follows the route of giant vessels over a year
Red shows huge tankers, blue represents dry bulk ships, and yellow shows ships carrying manufactured products
Different filters can be added to the interactive map to show port names, vessel routes and different ship types
Researchers want the map to shed light on how large a carbon footprint is created by the world's cargo ships

From the buzz of activity in the East China Sea to the relative quiet of Somalia's piracy afflicted waters, a new map has revealed the world's shipping activity in mesmerising detail.

The interactive map provides a fascinating glimpse into hows these shippingvessels navigate through vast oceans as they bring their valuable cargoes to port - but it also serves a more serious purpose.

Researchers want the map to shed light on just how large a carbon footprint is created by the world's cargo ships. It is estimated that a single large container ship can emit pollutants equivalent to that of 50 million cars.

Zoom inĀ on the map below to follow the route of cargo ships around the world or click hereto view

'The issue we were following was the levels of greenhouse gas emissions from cargo ships and their pollution impact,' Tristan Smith, a reader at University College London's Energy Institute, told Motherboard.

The data points show the movements of the world's commercial shipping fleet over the course of 2012. It also shows their fuel consumption every hour.

Shipmap's website says that 'billions of tonnes of ships and cargo rely on burning massive quantities of bunker fuel'.

This results in the release of huge amounts of carbon dioxide, which is the main driver of global warming.

Emissions from international shipping for that year were estimated to be 796 million tonnes CO2 which is more than the whole of the UK, Canada or Brazil emit in a year.

That's 218 million tonnes CO2 per day or 90868 tonnes CO2 per hour.

To create the map, researchers at UCL Energy Institute estimated emissions from five different ship types and plotted 250 million data points.

The data is based on hundreds of millions of individually recorded ship positions; plotting all of these at once shows the extraordinary extent of modern shipping's reach

This Map Tracks Thousands of Cargo Ships to Highlight Their Carbon Emissions | Motherboard
Shipmap.org | Visualisation of Global Cargo Ships | By Kiln and UCL
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28 April 2016, 4:02