Research laboratories began to be used on cruise ships…

Cruise ships… These floating hotels cruise all the coasts of Europe. But this luxury fleet does not just carry passengers. It also serves scientific purposes.

Scientist Jens Hjorth states that they closed the data gap with the project:
“We detected a slight air pollution over the Mediterranean. And we realized that there is not enough data on this subject. So more observations are needed. Cruise ships are a great platform for these observations to be made. Because it has a large area. We can measure especially in coastal areas where more intense air pollution is felt.”

Measurements collected from the open sea are made by ships with special research equipment. But running a ship at sea for years is quite expensive. For this reason, the Research Center of the European Commission requested free cabins from companies that organize commercial cruise ships. And measurements were started on one ship.

Jens Hjorth:
“The ship we are measuring is sailing in the direction of the Western Mediterranean. It starts from here, the city of Savona. Afterwards, he tours the cities of Barcelona, ​​Palma, Malta, Catania and Naples and returns to Savona. This trip is done every week. We have been making these measurements in this region since 2006. We measure three more or less the same area. These metrics help us analyze changes each time and keep a record over the years.”

There are many causes of air pollution over the sea. Especially big cities, road transport and sea travel. Because the measurements are automatic, scientists cannot take part in the sea voyage. They just come on board for maintenance.

Jens Hjorth:
“Air comes in through these two pipes. One of these pipes measures the gas in the air. The other collects the molecules. Then, measurements are made inside the cabin.
Analyzes are made with these devices. One measures sulfur dioxide and the other measures nitric dioxide. Here it is in black. It absorbs light. In addition, we have a different device that displays the carbon monoxide and ozone level. What we're doing is putting all these measurements together.”

The station can reach samples collected from the open sea when the ship arrives at the port. The values ​​sent to the research center in Ispra with the help of satellite internet are controlled by computer models. Thus, researchers at the center can communicate remotely with the monitor on the ship.

Pedro Miguel Rocha e Abreu is pleased with this system that makes their work easier:
“With the data collection system, we can easily access the values ​​coming from the ship hundreds of kilometers away. This makes our job much easier.”

The measurement values ​​from the ship close an important gap for scientists. The results help to better understand the causes of pollution and improve the models used.
At the same time, it also serves to see how effective some of the policies implemented in the last period are. For example, the low sulfur fuel application of the European Union for ships is one of them…

Jens Hjorth:
“If you look at Savona, Barcelona and other European ports on the Mediterranean, you can easily see the impact of the new regulations. There is a decrease of about 66 percent in the sulfur dioxide ratio. But we do not see such a change in Tunisia, which is not within the scope of the regulation.”

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Source : euronews

📩 22/10/2013 00:59

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