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January 16, 2017

The role of the cryosphere in determining the fate of persistent chemicals in the marine system of the Arctic

The role of the cryosphere in determining the fate of persistent chemicals in the marine system of the Arctic 400 x 400 px

Currently there is an array of persistent organic pollutants that undergo long-range transport in air and seawater and are present in the Earth’s Polar Regions. These chemicals, arising from industrial, agricultural and domestic sources are present in surface media (seawater, snow) often at trace level, but are undergoing bioaccumulation/biomagnification in the Arctic marine foodweb.

The role of the cryosphere in accumulating and subsequently releasing these chemicals is not understood and yet the sea-ice system may have a profound influence on pollutant behaviour, serving to accumulate, enrich and subsequently releasing chemicals to surface seawater at times of the year when biological activity is high.

This PhD research project aims to characterise the presence and behaviour of these chemicals in sea-ice and the ice-rafted snowpack, and explore enrichment processes during ice ageing by focusing on two groups of industrial chemicals with contrasting physical-chemical properties. The goal of the project is to fully resolve contaminant processes in ice by developing a process-based model on chemical fate.

This is particularly relevant in a ‘warmer’ Arctic with changing ice conditions. The project will entail ship-based fieldwork in the Arctic and provide excellent opportunities to work with international partner scientists with access to world-leading analytical laboratories.

Eligibility: Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in Environmental Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Environmental Science or Natural Science, ideally with experience or project work in an analytical laboratory. A willingness to undertake fieldwork in the Arctic is also important. For further details please contact Dr Crispin Halsall (c.halsall@lancaster.ac.uk)