Atmospheric HCH concentrations over the marine boundary layer from Shanghai, China to the Arctic Ocean: Role of human activity and climate change

Xiaoguo WU, Chung Wah James LAM, Chonghuan XIA, Hui KANG, Liguang SUN, Zhouqing XIE, Paul K. S. LAM

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Abstract

From July to September 2008, air samples were collected aboard the research expedition icebreaker XueLong (Snow Dragon) as part of the 2008 Chinese Arctic Research Expedition Program. Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) concentrations were analyzed in all of the samples. The average concentrations (±standard deviation) over the entire period were 33 ± 16, 5.4 ± 3.0, and 13 ± 7.5 pg m⁻³ for α-, β- and γ-HCH, respectively. Compared to previous studies in the same areas, total HCH (ΣHCH, the sum of α-, β-, and γ-HCH) levels declined by more than 10× compared to those observed in the 1990s, but were approximately 4× higher than those measured by the 2003 China Arctic Research Expedition, suggesting the increase of atmospheric ΣHCH recently. Because of the continuing use of lindane, ratios of α/γ-HCH showed an obvious decrease in North Pacific and Arctic region compared with those for 2003 Chinese Arctic Research Expedition. In Arctic, the level of α-HCH was found to be linked to sea ice distribution. Geographically, the average concentration of α-HCH in air samples from the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, neither of which contain sea ice, was 23 ± 4.4 pg m⁻³, while samples from the area covered by seasonal ice (∼75°N to ∼83°N), the so-called "floating sea ice region", contained the highest average levels of α-HCH at 48 ± 12 pg m⁻³, likely due to emission from sea ice and strong air-sea exchange. The lowest concentrations of α-HCH were observed in the pack ice region in the high Arctic covered by multiyear sea ice (∼83°N to ∼86°N). This phenomenon implies that the re-emission of HCH trapped in ice sheets and Arctic Ocean may accelerate during the summer as ice coverage in the Arctic Ocean decreases in response to global climate change. Copyright © 2010 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8422-8428
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Volume44
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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Lindane
HCH
Climate change
Boundary layers
human activity
boundary layer
climate change
Sea ice
Ice
sea ice
Arctic Ocean
air
Air
Icebreakers
floating ice
ice
pack ice
Snow
research program
ice sheet

Citation

Wu, X., Lam, J. C. W., Xia, C., Kang, H., Sun, L., Xie, Z., & Lam, P. K. S. (2010). Atmospheric HCH concentrations over the marine boundary layer from Shanghai, China to the Arctic Ocean: Role of human activity and climate change. Environmental Science & Technology, 44(22), 8422-8428. doi: 10.1021/es102127h