Preparing for the unprecedented - Towards quantitative oil risk assessment in the Arctic marine areas

Maisa Nevalainen, Inari Helle, Jarno Vanhatalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The probability of major oil accidents in Arctic seas is increasing alongside with increasing maritime traffic. Hence, there is a growing need to understand the risks posed by oil spills to these unique and sensitive areas. So far these risks have mainly been acknowledged in terms of qualitative descriptions. We introduce a probabilistic framework, based on a general food web approach, to analyze ecological impacts of oil spills. We argue that the food web approach based on key functional groups is more appropriate for providing holistic view of the involved risks than assessments based on single species. We discuss the issues characteristic to the Arctic that need a special attention in risk assessment, and provide examples how to proceed towards quantitative risk estimates. The conceptual model presented in the paper helps to identify the most important risk factors and can be used as a template for more detailed risk assessments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)90-101
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1172 Environmental sciences
  • 112 Statistics and probability

Cite this