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Sci Total Environ. 2005 Apr 15;342(1-3):261-79. Epub 2005 Mar 4.

Observations of the PCB distribution within and in-between ice, snow, ice-rafted debris, ice-interstitial water, and seawater in the Barents Sea marginal ice zone and the North Pole area.

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  • 1Stockholm University, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM), 10691 Stockholm, Sweden. orjan.gustafsson@itm.su.se

Abstract

To evaluate the two hypotheses of locally elevated exposure of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in ice-associated microenvironments and ice as a key carrier for long-range transport of POPs to the Arctic marginal ice zone (MIZ), dissolved and particulate polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were analyzed in ice, snow, ice-interstitial water (IIW), seawater in the melt layer underlying the ice, and in ice-rafted sediment (IRS) from the Barents Sea MIZ to the high Arctic in the summer of 2001. Ultra-clean sampling equipment and protocols were specially developed for this expedition, including construction of a permanent clean room facility and a stainless steel seawater intake system on the I/B ODEN as well as two mobile 370 l ice-melting systems. Similar concentrations were found in several ice-associated compartments. For instance, the concentration of one of the most abundant congeners, PCB 52, was typically on the order of 0.1-0.3 pg l(-1) in the dissolved (melted) phase of the ice, snow, IIW, and underlying seawater while its particulate organic-carbon (POC) normalized concentrations were around 1-3 ng gPOC(-1) in the ice, snow, IIW, and IRS. The solid-water distribution of PCBs in ice was well correlated with and predictable from K(ow) (ice log K(oc)-log K(ow) regressions: p<0.05, r2=0.78-0.98, n=9), indicating near-equilibrium partitioning of PCBs within each local ice system. These results do generally not evidence the existence of physical microenvironments with locally elevated POP exposures. However, there were some indications that the ice-associated system had harbored local environments with higher exposure levels earlier/before the melting/vegetative season, as a few samples had PCB concentrations elevated by factors of 5-10 relative to the typical values, and the elevated levels were predominantly found at the station where melting had putatively progressed the least. The very low PCB concentrations and absence of any significant concentration gradients, both in-between different matrices and over the Eurasian Arctic basin scale, suggest that ice is not an important long-range transport purveyor of POPs to the Arctic MIZ ecosystem.

PMID:
15866279
[PubMed]
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