UCL Energy Institute (UCL EI) and London-based Kiln have launched a new interactive map showing the movements of the world's commercial shipping fleet over the course of the year 2012, along with their associated emissions - with a huge 250 million data points.
"Based only on ship movements and without a background map, the world's coastlines are clearly defined, with plenty of variation in ship activity: from the buzz of activity in the East China Sea to the relative quiet of Somalia's piracy afflicted waters to ship movements in areas where one might not expect them, such as the Arctic and Antarctic," UCL EI said.
The map also clearly shows the most crucial shipping thoroughfares of all: the canals linking different bodies of water, such as the Panama Canal, opened a century ago to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean
"The map also clearly shows the most crucial shipping thoroughfares of all: the canals linking different bodies of water, such as the Panama Canal, opened a century ago to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, and the even older and busier Suez Canal which saw 17,000 transits in 2012 alone."
UCL EI researchers used AIS data showing and combined that with another database on vessel characteristics, such as engine type and hull measurements, to compute CO2 emissions for each observed hour, following the approach laid out in the Third IMO Greenhouse Gas Study 2014.
For each ship type as well as for the entire global fleet, the map displays the freight carried and CO2 emitted by the ships.
Total emissions from international shipping for 2012 were estimated to be 796 million tonnes CO2.
The full map can be views at www.shipmap.org