Finding Hidden Ship Tracks

#Seas & Oceans, #Image in the news, #Air pollution, #Climate change

Published on 8 July 2019

Ocean-crossing ships leave more than just wakes in the water. They also emit particles that ultimately form thin, winding clouds known as “ship tracks.” For decades, scientists have been studying the phenomenon in order to understand the complex interactions between aerosols and clouds and to decipher what those interactions mean for climate change.

But researchers have not had enough ship tracks to study. The way a cloud reacts to the presence of aerosols can vary wildly in different environmental scenarios, so researchers need a lot of examples from which to draw solid conclusions. They could soon have more ship tracks to study thanks to a new model that can automatically detect ship tracks in satellite images.

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