The issue of present and potential radioactive contamination in the marine environment has received considerable attention in Norway. The Norwegian marine monitoring programme (RAME) focuses on monitoring of radioactivity both in coastal areas and in the open sea. This programme also includes monitoring of discharges from Norwegian sources and collection of discharge data relevant for the long-range transport of radionuclides from various sources (NRPA, 2011).
Atmospheric transport is believed to be the most important transport route for volatile and semi-volatile POPs (persistent organic pollutants) into the Arctic (AMAP 2004). Monitoring POPs in the air at Zeppelin observatory (close to Ny Ålesund, Svalbard) has revealed low concentrations with stabile or declining trends. One exception is HCB (hexachlorobenzene) that has increased significantly since 2003 (Nizzetto, 2014).
Oil contamination might be measured as the total hydrocarbon content (THC) which includes both aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs play a significant role in the Barents Sea where hydrocarbon resources are naturally present. PAHs also originate from incomplete combustion processes of organic material, they travel long distances in the atmosphere, and are toxic to animals and humans. Hence, PAH-emission is still ongoing. Atmospheric transport has been demonstrated to be the main route for PAHs to reach pristine areas such as the Arctic.
Heavy metals have been part of the Norwegian national monitoring program since 1980. Monitoring heavy metals in air was initiated at Zeppelin Observatory in 1994 and at Andøya Observatory in 2010. In 2013, annual mean concentrations of most heavy metals except mercury, nickel, and vanadium were somewhat higher at Zeppelin than observed at Andøya. This was due to individual episodes with high concentrations of heavy metals at Zeppelin during winter in 2013 (Figure 4.4.12).