Project Dashboard


  • NIRB File No:


  • Application No.:


  • Project Type:

    Scientific Research

  • Project Name:

    Shipping Emissions in the Arctic and North Atlantic Atmosphere

  • University of Birmingham
  • Zongbo Shi
  • School of Geography Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • BIRMINGHAM, West Midlands B17 8PS United Kingdom
Primary Contact
  • University of Birmingham
  • Zongbo Shi
  • School of Geography Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • BIRMINGHAM, West Midlands B17 8PS United Kingdom
  • Tel: 00447548132896
Regulatory Authorities

The research cruise we are proposing is part of a UK Natural Environment Research Council funded project – “Shipping Emissions in the Arctic and North Atlantic Atmosphere: SEANA”. The project is hosted by the University of Birmingham and led by Professor Zongbo Shi. The research cruise will be conducted entirely onboard the UK's National Oceanography Centre's UK flagged Royal Research Ship DISCOVERY which will remain at sea for the duration of the cruise. Ship emissions have a marked influence on the concentrations of aerosol particles in the marine atmosphere. These tiny particles, invisible to our eyes, affect the climate by scattering light back to space and by forming clouds. Melting sea ice in the Arctic in the future will lead to increased shipping in the region, which could significantly affect the concentration of these tiny particles and climate. Quantifying these influences is challenging, however, due to a lack of understanding of where the aerosol particles are coming from and how they are formed or change in the Arctic atmosphere. SEANA aims to better understand the impact of ship traffic along the Northwest Passage on aerosol particles and the climate in western Arctic, and to predict the impact of future ship traffic in this region. To this aim, the SEANA Project will involve a research cruise to the Labrador Sea, the Davis Strait and potentially South Baffin Bay (ice conditions permitting). The DISCOVERY will sail from Reykjavik, Iceland on 19 May 22 for the Davis Strait and return directly back to the UK, docking in Southampton on 27 June 22. The ship is not scheduled to make any other port calls. The research cruise will involve 19 scientists, supported by 29 crew and technicians, all of whom will remain onboard the ship for the duration of the cruise. DISCOVERY is not an icebreaker; her Ice Class limiting her to operations in open water with a maximum 1/10th surface ice. The cruise programme plan will see the ship (ice conditions allowing) conduct atmospheric sampling operations adjacent to the south east coast of Baffin Island and the east coast of Labrador and Newfoundland as well as in waters adjacent to the west coast of Greenland. The ship will not enter any areas where the ice coverage is greater than 1/10th ice. Depending on the ice conditions at the time, it is highly unlikely that the ship will close within 90-100 nautical miles off Baffin Island or get closer than 40-60 nautical miles off the Labrador coast. Noting the location of the proposed sampling areas and her Ice Class limitations, it is anticipated that DISCOVERY will not come in direct contact with any local communities or protected areas ashore or enter any Canadian Marine Protected Area during the cruise. It is anticipated the ship will be conducting sampling operations in the areas detailed above between 23 May and 19 Jun 22. During the research cruise, we will make a comprehensive observation of aerosol particles, and related cloud condensation and ice nuclei (which form clouds). After the cruise, we will analyse the new data to quantity the sources of aerosol particles in the region (e.g., from biomass burning, mineral dust, or shipping) and understand the chemical processes affecting the ability of the particles to form clouds. The new datasets and process understanding will be used to evaluate and improve a state-of-the-art global aerosol model to represent key aerosol sources and processes, including shipping emissions. These datasets along with the final cruise report will be made available to the Canadian Authorities as required by the United national Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). SEANA will apply the improved model to provide robust predictions on both the impact of future ship traffic on aerosol and the climate in the western Arctic. This will inform future policies to limit shipping emissions to protect the Arctic environment, which may be highly sensitive to shipping emissions.

Assessment Phase / Activity
  • Screening Cancelled 2022-05-20
  • Commenting period 2022-05-20
  • Application screening started 2022-05-03
  • Transboundary
  • South Baffin
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