Nowadays Russia experiences the new wave of increasing exploration in the Arctic: oil and gas production, coal mining, military objects, Arctic Ocean sea-pass development. All this activities are strongly connected with hydrocarbon consumption and environmental pollution due to high rate of risks. In some cases, the ecological damage can be partly removed by bioremediation and recultivation actions. Still unknown is the fate of large part of pollutants’ volume which can potentially migrate downwards due to the active processes of cryogenic mass-exchange then laterally redistribute over the surface of permafrost and even penetrate into it. Geochemical evolution of these contaminants in polar ecosystems under global climate change and local impacts is poorly studied.
Besides the local pollutants, the supertoxicants can be accumulated in polar ecosystems: POPs, heavy metals, PAHs, radionuclides etc. Some of them migrate via atmosphere, some via trophic chains. However, the same as local pollutants, these toxicants’ fate in cryogenic soils, upper permafrost and in polar ecosystems themselves is very poorly studied. Arctic region became the depo of global pollutants from other regions of the planet.
The special case of Arctic exploration is the ecological damage from nuclear testing which led to the accumulation of Cs, U, Pu, Sr and other radionuclides. Members of the project team proved the possibility of their migration due to cryogenic mass-exchange.