Arctic Environmental Pollution

While the Arctic is remote from most industrial activity, some areas are highly polluted. Point sources of pollution in the Arctic are associated with industrial or military sites.

Long-distance transport through atmosphere or ocean delivers non-point or diffuse pollutants; these sources and processes are less understood. The unusual combinations of Arctic ambient conditions (long periods of darkness, cold, dry air, strong wind, ice cover, permafrost) affects the distributions to and lifetimes of pollutants in the Arctic. These features affect the impacts of pollutants on wildlife and Native communities in the Arctic. Students will also learn that research on Arctic pollution can influence public policy decisions requiring that scientists acquire effective communication skills with the public.

Specific topics:

  • On-site pollution on Svalbard.

  • Point and non-point pollution sources in general and in the Arctic.

  • Radioactive pollution in the Arctic from local and long-distance sources.

  • Trace metal pollution in the Arctic (particularly mercury).

  • Pollution in the Arctic by synthetic organic compounds.

  • Decomposition processes in the Arctic atmosphere (oxidation, photolysis) and the role of UV energy.

  • Movement of pollutants through the atmosphere to the Arctic.

  • Pollutant movement through the Arctic food chain; metabolism, retention, excretion.

  • Health effects of Arctic pollutants on humans and wildlife.

  • Air pollution effects on polar stratospheric ozone depletion.

  • Science communication with policy-makers and the public (development of the Montreal Protocol, Stockholm Convention, Chemical Weapons Treaty).

Course details

Academic level(s)Bachelor
Language of instruction
InstitutionUniversity Centre in Svalbard
Begin date-
End date-
Registration deadline15.04.2014
ECTS credits15.0
Field schoolNo
Fields of studyEngineering and engineering trades (others)Environmental protection technology
Teaching placeSvalbard
Tagsenvironmenthigh northtechnologyengineeringpollutionarctic region
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