The potential transport of pollutants by Arctic sea ice

S. L. Pfirman, H. Eicken, D. Bauch, W. F. Weeks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


Drifting sea ice in the Arctic may transport contaminants from coastal areas across the pole and release them during melting far from the source areas. Arctic sea ice often contains sediments entrained on the Siberian shelves and receives atmospheric deposition from Arctic haze. Elevated levels of some heavy metals (e.g. lead, iron, copper and cadmium) and organochlorines (e.g. PCBs and DDTs) have been observed in ice sampled in the Siberian seas, north of Svalbard, and in Baffin Bay. In order to determine the relative importance of sea ice transport in comparison with air/sea and oceanic processes, more data is required on pollutant entrainment and distribution in the Arctic ice pack.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-146
Number of pages18
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jan 10 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Arctic
  • Contamination
  • Ecosystem
  • Pollution
  • Sea ice
  • Transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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