Pollution in the Arctic Ocean: An overview of multiple pressures and implications for ecosystem services

Bryony L. Townhill, Efstathios Reppas-Chrysovitsinos, Roxana Sühring, Crispin J. Halsall, Elena Mengo, Tina Sanders, Kirsten Dähnke, Odile Crabeck, Jan Kaiser, Silvana N. R. Birchenough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


The Arctic is undergoing unprecedented change. Observations and models demonstrate significant perturbations to the physical and biological systems. Arctic species and ecosystems, particularly in the marine environment, are subject to a wide range of pressures from human activities, including exposure to a complex mixture of pollutants, climate change and fishing activity. These pressures affect the ecosystem services that the Arctic provides. Current international policies are attempting to support sustainable exploitation of Arctic resources with a view to balancing human wellbeing and environmental protection. However, assessments of the potential combined impacts of human activities are limited by data, particularly related to pollutants, a limited understanding of physical and biological processes, and single policies that are limited to ecosystem-level actions. This manuscript considers how, when combined, a suite of existing tools can be used to assess the impacts of pollutants in combination with other anthropogenic pressures on Arctic ecosystems, and on the services that these ecosystems provide. Recommendations are made for the advancement of targeted Arctic research to inform environmental practices and regulatory decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-483
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Early online date7 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Chemicals
  • Contaminants
  • Ecopath
  • Management
  • Modelling
  • Policy

Cite this