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Chemical Contamination In The Arctic Under A Changing Climate

Location: 140 Charlotte St., Peterborough, On K9H 7E8

Event Description: 

With increasing accessibility, the Arctic is becoming Canada’s new frontier of industrial development and socio-economic innovation. Associated with the unprecedented opportunities for Arctic development is the risk of chemical contamination of its vulnerable ecosystems. In addition to contaminants that are transported over long distances from the south, melting of glaciers, sea ice and permafrost can release “legacy” contaminants that had been stored in them from the past, whereas resource development and marine transportation will introduce new, “emerging” contaminants. Using mercury in the Arctic sea ice environment as an example, Arctic contamination is driven not only by the amount of contaminants entering the system, but increasingly by climate-induced changes within Arctic ecosystems. The dramatic climate change we have been witnessing in the Arctic is causing major changes in environmental and ecological processes, which control how contaminants are taken up by the organisms in the Arctic region. As a result, emission control of contaminants alone may no longer be sufficient or efficient, as it will be followed by long delays before improvement is seen in Arctic ecosystems. Understanding the interplay between chemical contamination and climate change is critical for the improvement of policies and practices on adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable development in the Arctic under a changing climate.

Trent University Presents:

Dr. Fei Wang is professor of Environmental Chemistry and Biogeochemistry at the University of Manitoba. He holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Arctic Environmental Chemistry. He directs the Ultra-Clean Trace Elements Laboratory (UCTEL) and is the chief scientist of the Sea-ice Environmental Research Facility (SERF), the first experimental sea ice facility in Canada. Professor Wang also leads the development of the Oil-in-Sea-Ice Mesocosm (OSIM) of the soon-to-be-constructed Churchill Marine Observatory.

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Later Event: November 9
The Supermarket Tour