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Daily Archives: 27. April 2008 − News & Stories


Envi­ron­ment: New pol­lut­ants / Rising values of atmo­s­phe­ric CO2

It is well known that envi­ron­men­tal pol­lut­ants such as PCBs that ori­gi­na­te from indus­tria­li­zed coun­tries accu­mu­la­te in the food chain in the Arc­tic to high levels in spe­ci­es such as Polar bears and Glau­cous gulls, both top pre­d­a­tors in this envi­ron­ments. Trends in “old” toxins have been obser­ved to be decre­a­sing in recent years, due to bans of rele­vant sub­s­tan­ces for examp­le in the EU. It takes a long time for levels to decre­a­se becau­se all rele­vant sub­s­tan­ces have in com­mon that they are long-lived, they are still used ille­gal­ly and some coun­tries have so far fai­led to issue bans.

The bad news is that new orga­nic pol­lut­ants have been found. Pro­duc­tion of che­mi­cals for fire­pro­of mate­ri­als (elec­tro­nics, fur­ni­tu­re, clot­hing) seems to be the most signi­fi­cant source. Per­fluo­rooc­ta­ne­sul­fo­nic acid (PFOS) seems to be an important new thre­at; this sub­s­tance has alrea­dy reached high levels for examp­le in fat tis­sue of Polar bears in Sval­bard. 
 
Also regio­nal CO2 levels con­ti­nue to show alar­ming trends. CO2 is mixing quick­ly in the atmo­s­phe­re over the glo­be, which means that regio­nal trends reflect the glo­bal deve­lo­p­ment. The atmo­s­phe­ric obser­va­to­ry on Zep­pe­l­in­fjel­let near Ny Åle­sund in Spits­ber­gen, the average for the first 100 days of 2008 was 391.1 ppm (parts per mil­li­on), as com­pa­red to 388.8 ppm for the same peri­od in 2007. Sin­gle mea­su­re­ments bey­ond 400 ppm are likely to be obser­ved in 2009. 

Thawing ice of a pin­go in Spits­ber­gen. Natu­ral part of the com­plex life cycle of such a per­ma­frost struc­tu­re. Or result of man-made cli­ma­te chan­ge. 

Thawing ice of a pin­go in Spits­ber­gen. Natu­ral part of the com­plex life cycle of such a per­ma­frost struc­tu­re. Or result of man-made cli­ma­te chan­ge.

Environment - New pollutants - Rising values of atmospheric CO2

Source: Sval­bard Sci­ence Forum

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