Pollution from Ships Creates Massive Clouds Visible from Space


  • Thick clouds are forming in the sky due to Ship Pollution.
  • The Aqua Satellite of NASA has confirmed this.
  • An image taken over Portugal shows a thick film of cloud.
  • This is a result of particulate matters emitted from ships and it heavily impacts the global climate.

In January, NASA’s Aqua satellite snapped the above photo while it was orbiting over Portugal. In the image a thick lines of clouds is seen over the bluish North Atlantic oceans which looks like scars or etchings when viewed from space.

Implications of the image

Those thicker clouds, NASA officials explained in a description of the image, are signs of ship traffic below. When ships power their way through the ocean, they pump exhaust into the atmosphere, just as cars do. And those massive plumes of particles can “seed” clouds, causing new cloud droplets to form.


That’s because pollution particles, especially sulfates, are water-soluble, so water droplets cling to them, NASA officials said. Get enough of those particles in one place, as from the plume of a ship, and they can seed the creation of a whole new cloud easily visible from space.

“Some of the criss-crossing clouds stretch hundreds of kilometers from end to end,” NASA officials wrote.


While the thick tips are older clouds, the thin tips near the ends are the newly formed clouds and lies closer to the ships. The high number of ship-plume clouds visible in this image is result of high traffic witnessed by this shipping route on their way to Europe or North Africa, NASA officials wrote, the report says.

Although the NASA scientists believe that these kind of clouds have an effect on the global climate they aren’t sure what it is. While the white clouds generally reflect sunlight back into space it isn’t clear how the particulates are changing the atmosphere. So far it remains an air quality hazard which needs further research to determine the exact impact.

Did you subscribe for our daily newsletter?

It’s Free! Click here to Subscribe!

Source: Live Science


Sign me up for the newsletter!

Sign me up for the newsletter!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.