Polychlorinated naphthalenes in air and snow in the Norwegian Arctic : a local source or an Eastern Arctic phenomenon?

Herbert, B. M. J. and Halsall, C. J. and Villa, S. and Fitzpatrick, L. and Jones, K. C. and Lee, R. G. M. and Kallenborn, R. (2005) Polychlorinated naphthalenes in air and snow in the Norwegian Arctic : a local source or an Eastern Arctic phenomenon? Science of the Total Environment, 342 (1-3). pp. 145-160. ISSN 0048-9697

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PCNs were measured in air and snow during separate field campaigns at Ny-Ålesund (April 2001) and Tromsø (February/March 2003) in the Norwegian Arctic. Air concentrations ranged from 27 to 48 and 9 to 47 pg ΣPCN m−3 for Ny-Ålesund (n=6) and Tromsø (n=10), respectively. These concentrations (including the tri-chlorinated naphthalenes) greatly exceeded concentrations previously measured in the Canadian Arctic, but did fall within the upper range of concentrations observed over the eastern Arctic Ocean and regional seas. Local sources appear to be affecting concentrations observed at both sites, with the presence of several hexa-chlorinated naphthalenes at Tromsø probably attributed to local/regional sources. Use of air mass back trajectories at Tromsø revealed that background air concentrations in the Norwegian Arctic are likely to range between <9 and 20 pg ΣPCN m−3 and that contemporary concentrations derived close to potential sources (i.e. arctic towns) may equal or exceed those of PCBs. The mean concentration in surface snow was 350 and 240 pg ΣPCN L−1 (meltwater) (or 0.014 and 0.01 pg g−1 (snow)) at Ny-Ålesund and Tromsø, respectively. The wide variation in concentrations observed between fresh snowfalls could be explained by different snow densities (as a surrogate of snow surface area), rather than attributed to varying air concentrations. A statistically significant inverse relationship was found between snow density and concentrations of tri- to penta-chlorinated homologues and compliments similar findings for the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). This suggests that the vapour-sorbed quantity changes rapidly with snow ageing/compaction; with implications for the fate of these chemicals in the Arctic.

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Journal Article
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Science of the Total Environment
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24 Dec 2008 11:11
Last Modified:
17 Sep 2023 00:24