Primary source regions of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) measured in the Arctic

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


We investigate the source regions of the three polychlorinated biphenyl congeners (PCBs) 28, 101, and 180 measured at the Arctic stations Alert and Zeppelin, and at Birkenes, which is located in southern Norway. Although the Arctic is remote from the main use areas of these chemicals, PCBs have been found in Arctic air, seawater and biota, which has caused concerns for human and environmental health. We used 20-day backward calculations of the Lagrangian Particle Dispersion Model FLEXPART to identify the origin of air masses associated with the 20% highest and lowest measured PCB concentrations. At Birkenes, high concentrations are clearly associated with air masses arriving from known source regions (primarily in Europe and Russia), whereas low concentrations are correlated with atmospheric transport from regions with low primary emissions. At Zeppelin, the influence from known source regions is also enhanced when high PCB-28 and PCB-101 concentrations were measured. At Alert, in contrast, there is no clear link between high/low PCB concentrations and atmospheric transport from source/non-source regions. Additionally, we combined the atmospheric transport patterns with PCB emission data to identify important source regions and their seasonal variability. For the Arctic stations, Western Russia is the dominant source region for PCB-28 and PCB-101. Central Europe is the most important source region for PCB-180, but sources in the US contribute up to 15% to PCB-180 measured at Alert.
ZeitschriftAtmospheric Environment
Seiten (von - bis)391-399
Anzahl der Seiten9
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 12.2012