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Local Arctic air pollution: Sources and impacts

Kathy S. Law, Anke Roiger, Jennie L. Thomas, Louis Marelle-Sebrechts, Jean-Christophe Raut, Stig Bjørløw Dalsøren, Jan S. Fuglestvedt, Paolo Tuccella, Bernadett Weinzierl, Hans Schlager

Local emissions of Arctic air pollutants and their impacts on climate, ecosystems and health are poorly understood. Future increases due to Arctic warming or economic drivers may put additional pressures on the fragile Arctic environment already affected by mid-latitude air pollution. Aircraft data were collected, for the first time, downwind of shipping and petroleum extraction facilities in the European Arctic. Data analysis reveals discrepancies compared to commonly used emission inventories, highlighting missing emissions (e.g. drilling rigs) and the intermittent nature of certain emissions (e.g. flaring, shipping). Present-day shipping/petroleum extraction emissions already appear to be impacting pollutant (ozone, aerosols) levels along the Norwegian coast and are estimated to cool and warm the Arctic climate, respectively. Future increases in shipping may lead to short-term (long-term) warming (cooling) due to reduced sulphur (CO2) emissions, and be detrimental to regional air quality (ozone). Further quantification of local Arctic emission impacts is needed.

More details

  • DOI: 10.1007/s13280-017-0962-2
  • Year: 2017
  • Journal: Ambio
  • Language: English
  • Volume: 46
  • Page: 453 - 463
  • Issn: 0044-7447
  • Publisher: Kungl. Vetenskapsakademien