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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

Glacial and river plume's role in contamination of the Isfjorden coastal waters

Awarded: NOK 0.47 mill.

Project Number:


Project Period:

2023 - 2024

Funding received from:


Partner countries:

The project aims to enhance coordination, cooperation, and expertise exchange between the Norwegian and Korean institutions in studies of Arctic contamination. We plan to establish long-term cooperation in observations and modelling on Svalbard in the forthcoming projects. The pilot field study will be conducted in Isfjorden, utilizing the expertise of all project participants including early career scientists aiming the harmonization of methods used by working group. Terrestrial freshwater input can alter concentration and composition of pollutants in marine water in the coastal zone. Freshwater plumes propagation, driven by local winds and waves, can affect different regions of the fjord, and shape the frontal zones by interacting with saline waters. Within the project the role of the freshwater plumes of glacial and river origin in the pattern of pollution in Svalbard coastal waters will be assessed. As illustrative Contaminants (iC) in this study, we select perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), microplastics (MP), and mercury (Hg). PFOA and MP belong to the group of Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs), and Hg to the group of Priority Hazardous Substances. Hg can become a new challenge with regard to climate change due to its release from the thawing permafrost and the change in the sea ice regime. Experience gained in Isfjorden then will be applied by participants from KOPRI in Kongsfjorden in Ny-Ålesund contributing to the the Ny-Ålesund research flagship program “The Kongsfjorden system (marine ecosystems)” (WP2, WP6). Possibilities for future collaboration will be explored during the workshops in form of dedicated breakout discussions, including (1) potential mutual forthcoming grant applications; (2) establishing long-term collaboration in observations and numerical modelling on Svalbard; (3) producing joint research and review papers on iC fate in Isfjorden and Kongsfjorden.

Funding scheme:

SSF-Svalbard Science Forum