Hydrocarbon gases that rise from the bottom of the Red Sea are polluting the atmosphere at a rate equivalent to that of major fossil fuel supplying countries, Nature Communications reported.
Gases emitted from waters near resorts and ports in Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Saudi Arabia mix with ship emissions and become dangerous pollutants that pose a threat to human health.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology calculated that levels of ethane and propane in the air in the northern Red Sea were 40 times higher than previously thought.
The team of scientists came to an unexpected conclusion: 2 types of gas seep into the water after leaving the natural oil and gas reservoirs located under the seabed. For several years of work with these data, the specialists managed to prove that the emissions occurred 2 km below the sea surface.
The leakage rate of harmful gases is comparable to the leakage rates of hydrocarbons in the United Arab Emirates or Kuwait. These massive emissions are creating yet another source of atmospheric methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
The situation is exacerbated by nitrous oxide pollution due to the large congestion of cargo ships sailing through the north of the Red Sea. In the next 10 years, the movement of ships through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal will increase, nitrogen oxide emissions will also increase, which will lead to a significant deterioration in air quality throughout the region.