Red Sea releases 220,000 tons of polluting hydrocarbon gases every year

Mail Online | 1/28/2020 | Ryan Morrison For Mailonline
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The Red Sea releases 220,000 tons of harmful hydrocarbon gases into the atmosphere every year - more than human pollution produced by the UAE or Turkey

Reservoirs of ethane and propane gases buried under the sea are rising up and leaking into the atmosphere, the study by the Max Planck Institute found.

Gases - Hydrocarbon - Deposits - Gulfs - Suez

The gases are seeping up from hydrocarbon deposits in the Gulfs of Suez and Aquaba, then mixing with fumes from shipping traffic in the region.

The ships release high levels of nitrogen oxides which mix with the ethane and propane to produce ozone chemicals that are harmful to human health.

Researchers - Ship - Traffic - Red - Sea

The researchers say that, with ship traffic through the Red Sea and Suez Canal expected to continue to increase, regional air quality will deteriorate significantly.

A 2017 direct study of the atmosphere above the northern Red Sea found a concentration of those chemicals 40 times greater than predicted by scientists.

Research - Chemistry - Atmosphere - Red - Sea

Very little research had been done into the chemistry in the atmosphere above the Red Sea until the 2017 expedition.

Efstratios Bourtsoukidis, an environmental physicist at the German institute analysed every possible source of higher than expected emissions.

Traffic - Agriculture - Biomass - Burning - Power

They included traffic, agriculture, biomass burning, power generation and oil production - but couldn't link the levels of gases to any of those sources.

'Because there was no previous data from this region, we had to run numerous calculations in order to find the source,' said Bourtsoukidis.

End - Conclusion - Concentrations - Ethane

'In the end we came to an unexpected conclusion: the high concentrations of the observed atmospheric ethane and...
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