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Why implementing the “extinction-minus scattering” method for precise black carbon assessment in shipping is a good idea!

Imagine an Arctic where the ice is no longer white, but stained with soot and grime. How long before this becomes our reality if we ignore the escalating black carbon emissions from international shipping?

In the quest to combat climate change, a pressing challenge is reducing black carbon (BC) emissions, especially from international shipping in the Arctic. This region, facing significant environmental threats, underscores the urgency of adopting advanced control measurement techniques, like the extinction-minus scattering method, for accurate assessment and mitigation of these emissions.

Black Carbon: A potent threat to the Arctic

The Arctic is significantly affected by black carbon emissions. Black Carbon, a byproduct of incomplete combustion, settles on ice and snow, accelerating melting due to decreased surface albedo. This not only contributes to rising sea levels but also exacerbates global warming, with the Arctic warming at least twice as fast as the global average.

The impact of shipping emissions

The impact of shipping emissions on the environment is becoming increasingly significant. Black carbon is worrying, as its warming impact over a 20-year period is 460-1,500 times stronger than CO2. As ice melts, new shipping routes are opening in the Arctic, potentially increasing black carbon emissions in this sensitive region. The emissions from just one cruise ship in a day can equal that of a million cars, contributing to approximately 7-8% of total Arctic black carbon emissions. The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) forecasts a worrying 46% increase in BC emissions by 2025, if current trends continue. This alarming trend underscores the need for control measures including advanced control measurement methods, such as the extinction-minus scattering technique, for accurate emission assessment and mitigation.

Extinction-minus scattering: A promising approach

The extinction-minus scattering method precisely differentiate between light absorbed by black carbon and light scattered by other particles. This distinction is critical in the complex atmospheric conditions of the Arctic and amidst the diverse particulate composition of ship exhaust. Uniquely designed to withstand harsh environments, this method is less affected by high humidity and can endure the extreme temperatures found in ship exhaust, ensuring reliable data for environmental assessment and policy-making. Such precise advance measurement techniques are crucial for regulatory compliance, playing a key role in enforcing environmental regulations and developing targeted strategies to reduce black carbon emissions from maritime sources.


Accurately measuring black carbon emissions in the Arctic is crucial, not just for science, but for the environment's health. Adopting advanced techniques like extinction-minus scattering is critical in this fight, offering  an accurate understanding of emissions and leading to more effective environmental policies. This approach is vital in our collective effort to preserve the Arctic, tackle global warming, and ensure a sustainable future. The current situation demands prompt and decisive actions to maintain the delicate balance of Earth's climate.

"Black carbon, warming the Arctic at rates 460-1,500 times stronger than CO2, demands advanced solutions like the extinction-minus scattering method for precise and effective mitigation"

Morten Brandborg
CEO, Green Instruments