A group of scientists at the University of Birmingham have secured a £1.6m grant from the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council to lead a research project that aims to study shipping emissions in the Arctic and North Atlantic Atmosphere (ANAA).

The Shipping Emissions in the Arctic and North Atlantic Atmosphere (SEANA) project is scheduled to begin next year for a period of five years.

SEANA will study the impact of growing shipping activities in the Arctic region.

It will also investigate the impact of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) emission regulation on atmospheric aerosols and the climate in ANAA.

University of Birmingham SEANA lead investigator Dr Zongbo Shi said: “The new International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulation will be implemented in January 2020 to reduce the maximum fuel sulphur content by ships in international waters from 3.5% to 0.5%.

“This offers an unprecedented and never-again opportunity to observe how our atmosphere responds to this major ‘natural’ perturbation. Such observations will significantly enhance our understanding of the role that shipping emissions play in the wider climate change debate.

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“This will help us to validate and improve global climate models to more accurately predict climate change and to find out how we can best tackle this issue.”

“This will help us to validate and improve global climate models to more accurately predict climate change and to find out how we can best tackle this issue.”

As part of SEANA, the researchers will perform 12-month synergistic observations at Faroe Islands and Greenland, as well as conduct field studies on research ships along the Northwest Passage (NWP), on the sources and processes of aerosol and cloud condensation nuclei (CNN).

The resulting data from the project will be combined with the measurements generated by the current ANAA stations in order to create a benchmark dataset on aerosol baselines in ANAA.

They will also be used to analyse and improve a global aerosol model for key aerosol sources and processes such as shipping emissions and model responses to changes in ANAA.

The SEANA project includes ten partners from across the globe, including Faroe Islands Environment Agency, Korea Polar Research Institute, Stockholm University, and others.