Natural Removal of Crude and Heavy Fuel Oil on Rocky Shorelines in Arctic Climate Regimes

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Facilitated by a receding sea ice extent, new and shorter routes have led to increased maritime traffic in Arctic areas with an inherent risk for oil spills along Arctic rocky shorelines. To estimate natural oil removal under Arctic conditions, a crude oil and a heavy fuel oil were applied to slate tiles, mimicking rocky shore substratum, and placed at four levels within and just above the tidal zone on two rocky shorelines in West Greenland. Tiles were regularly sampled (within 95 days) to determine natural oil removal and chemical composition of the remaining oil. We found that natural oil removal on the rocky shorelines depends on (1) level position on the shoreline, i.e., within and above the tidal zone where ample exposure to water and wave-wash increases oil removal rate and efficiency, and (2) physical and chemical oil properties with the crude oil being removed more readily than the heavy fuel oil. These findings can help improve the risk assessment of oil spills in Arctic areas and facilitate the development of effective oil spill response strategies in Arctic seas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number479
JournalWater, Air and Soil Pollution
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

    Research areas

  • Arctic, IFO180 heavy fuel oil, Natural removal, North Sea crude oil, Oil spill, Tidal zone

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