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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2012 Nov 30;9(12):4333-45. doi: 10.3390/ijerph9124333.

Snowmelt runoff: a new focus of urban nonpoint source pollution.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecology and Environment, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun, China. zhuhui@neigae.ac.cn

Abstract

Irregular precipitation associated with global climate change had been causing various problems in urban regions. Besides the runoff due to rainfall in summer, the snowmelt runoff in early spring could also play an important role in deteriorating the water quality of the receiving waters. Due to global climate change, the snowfall has increased gradually in individual regions, and snowstorms occur more frequently, which leads to an enhancement of snowmelt runoff flow during the melting seasons. What is more, rivers just awaking from freezing constitute a frail ecosystem, with poor self-purification capacity, however, the urban snowmelt runoff could carry diverse pollutants accumulated during the winter, such as coal and/or gas combustion products, snowmelting agents, automotive exhaust and so on, which seriously threaten the receiving water quality. Nevertheless, most of the research focused on the rainfall runoff in rainy seasons, and the study on snowmelt runoff is still a neglected field in many countries and regions. In conclusion, due to the considerable water quantity and the worrisome water quality, snowmelt runoff in urban regions with large impervious surface areas should be listed among the important targets in urban nonpoint source pollution management and control.

PMID:
23202881
PMCID:
PMC3546765
DOI:
10.3390/ijerph9124333
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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