By proving that certain air pollutants are present in the polar region, Bernice Notenboom is hoping to involve people in the effect of daily human activities in places which are considered to be ‘clean’. The expedition will also focus on what is happening in the polar region as a result of the significant increase in shipping through the northern passage.
RIVM has set up a measuring programme that enables measurements
to be taken using lightweight equipment during the Arctic March
expedition. These measurements will be analysed by RIVM, and the
results compared to the situation in the Netherlands and on the
North Sea. In March, a test expedition took place on the North Sea.
knowledge about the role of air pollution in climate change will be
used to provide further clarification on climate change.
The expedition team will make use of skis and sledges in the
less passable areas. The sledges are provided with lightweight
instruments in order to continue the measurement of substances that
cause air pollution.
During the expedition, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide are
measured using passive samplers (measurement tubes). In the course
of the expedition, the samplers will be attached to a sledge to
allow the measurement of any sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide
present. A total of six measurement tubes is used. Two tubes will
be used to measure throughout the entire expedition, two on the sea
ice and two for the expedition into the Watkins Range (the highest
summits in Greenland). RIVM
will subsequently determine the time-weighted average
concentrations of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.
SO2 is caused by the burning of sulphurous fuels, such as the burning of fuel oil by ships and in coal-fired power stations. NO2 is produced during burning, such as in car or ship engines.
During the expediton iSPEX is used to measure particulate matter. In addition, the Calitoo sun photometer is used to measure particulate matter in the atmosphere. Calitoo is used in the international GLOBE programme in schools.
Particulate matter is defined as any suspended particulates (aerosols) in the open air. There are many sources of particulate matter, both anthropogenic (caused by human activity) and natural sources (atmospheric disturbances).
During the expedition, soot (also referred to as black carbon)
is measured using the handy microAeth-AE51. This instrument will
draw in air during daytime hours and save an average value in its
internal memory every five minutes, thus collecting a series of
measurements every day. RIVM will read and interprete these series.
Soot develops as a result of combustion processes, commonly by human activity (such as industrial processes). The precipitation of soot on snow and ice can decrease the high albedo (reflective power) and thus contribute to climate change.
Finally, material can be collected for analysis using a rasp and
some containers. In addition, snow samples can be taken to analyse
melt water. After the expedition, these analyses will be carried
out in the RIVM
All equipment is checked, tested for use in low temperatures
and, where possible, validated using tried-and-tested equipment
beforehand. The tests have been carried out by RIVM in a climatic
chamber. In addition, portable meters were taken along during a
measurement session on the North Sea. This allows for a comparison
with the meters from the National Air Quality Monitoring Network.
The meters were deployed in a mobile measuring station at the front
of the ship. RIVM will carry out identical measurements during the
expedition in Greenland as a reference.