Cranfield scientists to explore impact of shipping in Arctic

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Map_of_the_Arctic_region_showing_the_Northeast_Passage,_the_Northern_Sea_Route_and_Northwest_Passage,_and_bathymetry
Image: Susie Harder

Scientists from Cranfield University will be exploring the impact of emissions from shipping and cruises in the Arctic region thanks to new funding.

In a joint project a team from Cranfield University, University of Birmingham, University of Exeter and the British Antarctic Survey will assess the impact of emissions from merchant and passenger ships in the Arctic and North Atlantic on atmospheric conditions.

Professor Neil Harris, Professor of Atmospheric Informatics at Cranfield University, who is leading the project on the University’s behalf, said: “The Arctic region is seeing an increase in shipping traffic both from tourist cruises and from trade routes.

“In order to protect this fragile ecosystem, we need to understand what effect the increased traffic is having on the atmosphere. Only by gaining this understanding can we put in place appropriate regulations and manage shipping effectively in the region.”

The funding for the project has been by provided by the Natural Environment Research Council. Around £24 million has been split between 14 research projects spanning a wide range of topics generated by the UK environmental science community.

Global shipping is an important contributor to air pollution in remote marine regions and have a cooling effect on the climate. New regulations will limit the amount of sulphur particles allowed in a ship’s emissions.