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Climate change influence on POPs distribution and behaviour : a case study.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date04/2007
JournalChemosphere
Journal number7
Volume67
Number of pages9
Pages1287-1295
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Climate change has the potential of affecting the behaviour and distribution of organic pollutants, including POPs. Direct effects of climate change, like temperature increase, modification of wind and precipitation patterns, sea level rise, snow and ice cover, may be very effective in altering the partitioning of POPs among the environmental compartments. Other consequences of future climate scenarios may imply the alteration of degradation rates, soil properties (and hence land use), air-particle partitioning of chemicals and so forth. A case study is here presented to illustrate the major implications of climate change on the long term at the local scale. A dynamic multimedia model was applied to selected PCB and PCDD/F congeners to simulate the effects of climate change on their distribution and fluxes over the next 50 y in the Venice Lagoon (Italy). Different climate change scenarios were tested, finding noticeable variations in POPs concentration even for minor environmental changes. PCBs and PCDFs environmental concentrations may differ by a factor two in a moderate climate change scenario, compared to a situation with stable climate over the next 50 y. However, model results also suggest that if global warming may have the potential of reducing the environmental levels of these chemicals, it would probably enhance their mobility and hence their potential for long range atmospheric transport.