Professor in Environmental Change Korhola Atte ja työryhmä (FLARE)

351400 €

Gas Flaring-Induced Black Carbon in the Arctic: Climate Change Impacts and Regulatory Challenges

Nelivuotinen | Hankkeen teemat liittyvät Suomen muuttuvat naapuruudet -ohjelmaan

Gas flaring during oil extraction over the Arctic region is the primary source of warming-inducing aerosols (e.g. black carbon (BC)) with a strong potential to affect Arctic climate change. Today, Russia remains the world’s first oil and second gas producer and accounts for 27% of the World’s total annual flaring. Due to the potential of future increasing trends in oil extraction, BC emissions could increase in Russia more than expected. However, most emission inventories (incl. IPCC) have neglected BC emissions from gas flaring, for which reason our understanding of the climatic impact of BC remains limited. The aim of this study is to collect, in collaboration with our Russian colleagues, spatial and temporal data on BC concentrations and deposition in the atmosphere, snow and lake sediments and to investigate the BC sources and climate impacts in western Siberian Arctic, the biggest gas-flaring region in the world. The core of our research deals with the deposition history of BC studied from lake sediments, current concentrations and BC sources analyzed from continuous atmospheric BC observations and surface snow, and climate impacts assessed from satellite image-based time series data. The specific purpose of the project related to sustainable development is to investigate existing international, regional and national policies and laws in order to remove regulatory barriers to BC emission reductions. The overall information gathered by our study will help to evaluate, which emission sectors cause most BC deposition and highest observed atmospheric BC in the Russian Arctic, and will enlighten how Arctic industrial development may affect future trends of Arctic BC. Based on the results and our exploration of various international and national legislative and policy approaches, we can propose ways to influence policy and law, and suggest which emission reductions lead to quickest and most cost-effective climate change mitigation.