University of Oulu

Pavlov, V., James, N. A., Masden, E. A., De Aguiar, V. C. M., Hole, L. R., Liimatainen, H., & Pongrácz, E. (2023). Impacts of offshore oil spill accidents on island bird communities: A test run study around Orkney and Svalbard archipelagos. Environmental Pollution, 334, 122193.

Impacts of offshore oil spill accidents on island bird communities : a test run study around Orkney and Svalbard archipelagos

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Author: Pavlov, Victor1; James, Neil A.2; Masden, Elizabeth A.2;
Organizations: 1Water Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, P. O. Box 4300, FI-90014, Oulu, Finland
2Environmental Research Institute, UHI North Highland, University of the Highlands and Islands, Thurso, KW14 7EE, Scotland, Norway
3Department of Physics and Technology, UiT the Arctic University of Norway, N-9037, Tromso, Norway
4Oceanography and Marine Meteorology, Norwegian Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 7800, N-5020, Bergen, Norway
5Fibre and Particle Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, P. O. Box 4300, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 17.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-08-25


The sea area around the Orkney archipelago, Scotland is subjected to substantial maritime shipping activities. By contract, the Svalbard archipelago, Norway currently has a rather low marine traffic profile. Future projections, however, indicate that the Trans-Arctic route might change the whole transportation picture and Svalbard may be at the centre of maritime activities. Both archipelagos have sensitive environmental resources at sea and inland, including bird communities. There are, for instance, 13 Red Listed species present in Orkney and 2 in Svalbard. In this regard, it is important to address oil spill risks along existing and projected shipping routes. Hypothetical spills were simulated in twelve scenarios for both the Orkney and Svalbard archipelagos with the OpenDrift open-source software. The results indicate risks to seabird communities. For Orkney, the spills resulted in the most extensive contamination of the sea and land environments in autumn. For Svalbard, autumn spills on the contrary presented the lowest risk to seabirds. Based on the simulations, we recommend increased caution for shipping activities in the problematic seasons, improved local readiness for ship accidents and sufficient pre-incident planning.

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Series: Environmental pollution
ISSN: 0269-7491
ISSN-E: 1873-6424
ISSN-L: 0269-7491
Volume: 334
Article number: 122193
DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2023.122193
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
Funding: The authors acknowledge the “Arctic Preparedness Platform for Oil Spill and other Environmental Accidents” (APP4SEA) project co-funded by the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014–2020.
Copyright information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (