Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Gas flaring and household stoves speed Arctic thaw

Gas flaring by the oil industry and smoke from residential burning contributes more black carbon pollution to Arctic than previously thought—potentially speeding the melting of Arctic sea ice and contributing to the fast rate of warming in the region.

The new study, published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics by researchers at IIASA and in Norway, Finland, and Russia, finds that gas flaring from oil extraction in the Arctic accounts for 42% of the black carbon concentrations in the Arctic, with even higher levels during certain times of the year.

This map shows the surface concentrations of black carbon, from all emission sources, as simulated by the new study. The study shows that residential combustion emissions and gas flaring emissions are higher than previous studies had estimated.

In the month of March for example, the study showed that flaring accounts for more than half of black carbon concentrations near the surface. Globally, in contrast, gas flaring accounts for only 3% of black carbon emissions.

The researchers also found that residential combustion emissions play a greater role in black carbon pollution than previously estimated, after they incorporated seasonal differences in emissions into the model.

To conduct the study, researchers used particle dispersion model FLEXPART driven by emissions estimated with the IIASA’s GAINS model, combined with measurements of black carbon in the Arctic, made during a research cruise in the Arctic Ocean and research stations located at 6 sites in Alaska, Canada, Finland, Norway, and Greenland.

In the new study, the researchers for the first time included temporal distribution of black carbon emissions from residential combustion. “Understanding how much is emitted when during the year is something that has to be included better in our regional models,” says IIASA researcher Zbigniew Klimont, who worked on the study. It also incorporated detailed regional data on the location of gas flaring emissions, improving upon previous estimates that either ignored them entirely or used only regional averages. These improved emission estimates and their temporal resolution allows for a better reproduction of seasonal variability in observed black carbon concentrations.

“We are seeing more and more oil being extracted further and further north. And the proximity of emissions from gas flaring matters,” says Klimont. Black carbon, or soot, contributes to warming in the Arctic by darkening the surface of snow or ice and causing it to melt faster, or absorbing more heat in the air.

The warming effect of black carbon on ice and snow has been suggested as one factor contributing to the relatively fast warming of the Arctic compared to the rest of the world. Arctic sea ice has declined faster than climate models predict, hitting new record lows in 2007 and 2012.

Stohl, A., Klimont, Z., Eckhardt, S., Kupiainen, K., Shevchenko, V. P., Kopeikin, V. M., and Novigatsky, A. N. 2013. Black carbon in the Arctic: the underestimated role of gas flaring and residential combustion emissions, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 8833-8855, doi:10.5194/acp-13-8833-2013.
This study was funded by the FP7 project ECLIPSE , with additional support from the MACEB project.

Katherine Leitzell | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>