Pilot study of contaminants near Station Nord, a military airbase and research station in NE Greenland

M. Goodsite, H. Skov, G. Asmund, O. Bennike, A. Feilberg, M. Glasius, A. Gross, M.H. Hermanson

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/rapport/konferenceproceedingsBogkapitelForskningpeer review


There are very few studies of contaminants in waters, sediments and air in the vicinity of high Arctic military bases. This pilot study was commissioned by the Royal Danish Air Force and conducted around Station Nord, a small remote Danish Air Base and military station in northern Greenland, with the aim of determining the importance of local sources versus long range transport of contaminants. Trace metals (including As, Hg, Cd and Pb) were measured in freshwater and marine sediment cores, seawater and air within 3 km of the base. Concentrations of trace metals (including As, Hg, Cd and Pb) were analysed in the marine and freshwater sediment cores. Furthermore, air pollutants were measured to quantify emissions from local point sources compared to long range transport. All trace metals except As showed low concentrations in both a lake (Sommersøen) and in the sea (the Wandel Sea). As was found to be higher than expected both in marine and lake sediments. The concentrations of certain heavy metals were higher than would be expected from an undisturbed remote location. At present, there is not yet enough information to distinguish between local sources and long range transport as concentrations were found to be higher than expected both in marine and lake sediments. Some of this could be explained from the lithology but a major part of the variability remains unattributed and needs further study, though it is certainly possible that the concentrations were due to local sources and rubbish disposal practice.

The measurement of atmospheric pollutants upwind from the Station demonstrated a minor influence of local sources and the observed levels can be explained by long range transport. Monitoring of atmospheric pollutants in the high Arctic should be continued to assess the long term trend of load of pollutants to the Arctic environment from the atmosphere. The decision has been made in 2013 to expand the capabilities of Station Nord as a high Arctic research station with facilities supplementary and complementary to those found at other High Arctic Stations such as Alert, Canada; Thule, Greenland; Spitsbergen Norway, and Barrow, Alaska; therefore we describe in detail the Research Stations’ surrounding area and pertinent environmental data.
TitelSustainable cities and military installations
RedaktørerIgor Linkov
Antal sider22
ISBN (Elektronisk)978-94-007-7161-1
ISBN (Trykt)978-94-007-7160-4, 978-94-007-7172-7
StatusUdgivet - 2014


NavnNATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security
ISSN (Trykt)1874-6519
ISSN (Elektronisk)1874-6543


  • Programområde 5: Natur og klima


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