Impacts of Oil Spills on Arctic Marine Ecosystems: A Quantitative and Probabilistic Risk Assessment Perspective.
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Oil spills resulting from maritime accidents pose a poorly understood risk to the Arctic environment. We propose a novel probabilistic method to quantitatively assess these risks. Our method accounts for spatiotemporally varying population distributions, the spreading of oil, and seasonally varying species-specific exposure potential and sensitivity to oil. It quantifies risk with explicit uncertainty estimates, enables one to compare risks over large geographic areas, and produces information on a meaningful scale for decision-making. We demonstrate the method by assessing the short-term risks oil spills pose to polar bears, ringed seals, and walrus in the Kara Sea, the western part of the Northern Sea Route. The risks differ considerably between species, spatial locations, and seasons. Our results support current aspirations to ban heavy fuel oil in the Arctic but show that we should not underestimate the risks of lighter oils either, as these oils can pollute larger areas than heavi.....
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)14.1
Spatial CoverageKara Sea
CitationHelle, I., Mäkinen, J., Nevalainen, M., Afenyo, M. and Vanhatalo, J. (2020) Impacts of Oil Spills on Arctic Marine Ecosystems: A Quantitative and Probabilistic Risk Assessment Perspective. Environmental Science & Technology, 54:4, pp.2112–2121. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b07086
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