Local pollution in the Arctic from shipping and oil and gas industries, which have expanded in the region due to a thawing of sea ice caused by global warming, could further accelerate that thaw, experts say, reports Alister Doyle at Reuters.The United Nations Environment Program said there was an urgent need to calculate risks of local pollutants such as soot, or “black carbon”, in the Arctic. Soot darkens ice, making it soak up more of the sun’s heat and quickening a melt. Although companies such as Shell, Exxon or Statoil say they are using the cleanest available technologies, the risks of even small amounts of pollution on the Arctic Ocean, emitted near ice with little dispersal by winds, have not been fully assessed. “There is a grim irony here that as the ice melts…humanity is going for more of the natural resources fuelling this meltdown,” said Nick Nuttall, a spokesman for the UN program. Large amounts of soot in the Arctic come from more distant sources such as forest fires or industry. “A lot of the concerns need urgent evaluation,” he added.
Arctic sea ice thaw may be accelerated by oil, shipping
Arctic death spiral