Articles | Volume 10, issue 19
14 Oct 2010
 | 14 Oct 2010

Arctic shipping emissions inventories and future scenarios

J. J. Corbett, D. A. Lack, J. J. Winebrake, S. Harder, J. A. Silberman, and M. Gold

Abstract. This paper presents 5 km×5 km Arctic emissions inventories of important greenhouse gases, black carbon and other pollutants under existing and future (2050) scenarios that account for growth of shipping in the region, potential diversion traffic through emerging routes, and possible emissions control measures. These high-resolution, geospatial emissions inventories for shipping can be used to evaluate Arctic climate sensitivity to black carbon (a short-lived climate forcing pollutant especially effective in accelerating the melting of ice and snow), aerosols, and gaseous emissions including carbon dioxide. We quantify ship emissions scenarios which are expected to increase as declining sea ice coverage due to climate change allows for increased shipping activity in the Arctic. A first-order calculation of global warming potential due to 2030 emissions in the high-growth scenario suggests that short-lived forcing of ~4.5 gigagrams of black carbon from Arctic shipping may increase global warming potential due to Arctic ships' CO2 emissions (~42 000 gigagrams) by some 17% to 78%. The paper also presents maximum feasible reduction scenarios for black carbon in particular. These emissions reduction scenarios will enable scientists and policymakers to evaluate the efficacy and benefits of technological controls for black carbon, and other pollutants from ships.

Final-revised paper