Arctic and Antarctic Spills Chapter uri icon


  • 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Even the remote polar regions are not immune to oil and fuel spills and have suffered detrimental ecological impacts due to anthropogenic hydrocarbon releases to the environment. With the world focused on climate change and the projected new development of the Arctic Basin, it is timely to review what is known about oil spill response and mitigation in cold regions. The Polar Regions include some of the more sensitive and harsh environments on the planet. Polar conditions present unique and difficult challenges in dealing with oil and fuel released into the environment, especially in ice covered areas. Due to the presence of humans and significant economic interests in the north, the Arctic has been exposed to far more oil and fuel spills than the Antarctic. This chapter provides an overview of the history of oil and fuel spills in Polar Regions. The chapter includes discussion of spill occurrences, spill fates and effects, modes of transport of oil and fuel once spilled in terrestrial and marine environments, mitigation measures that have been developed, and the lessons learned from remediation efforts to date within the context of current regulations and policies in the Arctic Basin. In general, there is little experience in responding to oil and fuel spills in Arctic marine environments. However, projections of energy development and shipping may radically alter the situation in the not too distant future.

author list (cited authors)

  • Filler, D. M., Kennicutt, M. C., Snape, I., Sweet, S. T., & Klein, A. G.

Book Title

  • Handbook of Oil Spill Science and Technology

publication date

  • January 1, 2014 11:11 AM