Project EISPAC is based on the need to assess the global reach and distribution pathways of current-use/emerging chemical contaminants – many of which have significant commercial value but are present as background contaminants in the Arctic. EISPAC will therefore provide sound science to help address issues raised in the Select Committee Report (Responding to a Changing Arctic). Specific end-users who will benefit from this research will include:
International conventions and risk assessment scientists concerning the global use/management of hazardous chemical substances
This research will provide some of the first assessments on the role of the changing Arctic cryosphere on contaminant fate in the marine environment. It will identify the extent of exposure and timing of exposure of these substances to biota, particularly organisms in the lower marine foodweb for which there is a clear knowledge gap. The work will address research needs identified by the Arctic Monitoring Assessment Programme (AMAP), informing the Nordic Council of Ministers and influencing politicians in the UK and Germany.
The oil industry will benefit from the fundamental research to be conducted on a wide variety of chemicals regarding their entrapment and behaviour in sea ice. This will result in model simulations of chemical fate which can be used to inform oil-dispersant management in ice-rich waters.
The science behind EISPAC holds great appeal to the public. Melting sea ice is very much one of the most publicly visible signs of climate change. The concept of an Arctic Ocean without summer sea ice in the next 40 years is a powerful metaphor of global warming that is easy to grasp. Our aim will be to add equally powerful messages about how pollution stressors (certain ‘everyday’ chemicals and plastic materials) alongside climate change may impact on the productivity, biodiversity and chemistry of the Arctic Ocean. This material is of great interest to the live visual, video and audio media. We will utilize our estbalished connections with media groups to publicise this project and its findings.