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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

Dynamics of anthropogenic pollutants in the Arctic fjord environment (Svalbard, Norway), RiS ID: 11872

Awarded: NOK 63,999

Multiple drivers influenced the chain of events called "Arctic amplification", reflecting in ecosystem impacts. It is precisely in an Arctic fjord environment, the Kongsfjorden-Krossfjorden system (KKS), located on the northwest coast of Spitsbergen, that also the Atlantification process is occurring. Due to the influx of abundant Atlantic water masses into the fjord throughout the year, this process is also changing the salinity regime and influencing the hydrography of the fjord system. Moreover, considering the rapid retreat of the front of tidewater glaciers, huge amount of sediments rapidly accumulates in the inner part of the fjord. All these parameters also affect the occurrence and availability of pollutants in the marine environment. In particular, information on the relative importance of local sources vs long-range transport of pollutants, and also studies including assessments on Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) are lacking. The main objective of this project is to improve our knowledge and provide new data on biogeochemical conditions and contamination (POPs and CECs) of the Artic KKS at different environmental levels. Specifically, sampling of particulate organic matter, superficial bottom sediments and sediment cores will be carried out to provide more information about: i) how much the contribution of suspended material (nutrients and organic matter) released by the glaciers in the inner fjord area affects the sediment characteristics and accumulation rates; ii) the effects of Atlantification on marine biogeochemical condition and contaminants fluxes; iii) the contamination trends, focusing on selected POPs and CECs, comparing local sources due to human activities with LRT and secondary emissions in summer season, to figure out their impact on marine life and ecosystem; iv) the evolution of the contaminant concentrations over the last century.

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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum