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Long-term trends in a- and g-HCH in the arctic atmosphere: the effect of legislation and climate fluctuations on atmospheric concentrations.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2008
<mark>Journal</mark>Atmospheric Environment
Number of pages9
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Twelve year datasets of weekly atmospheric concentrations of α- and γ-HCH were compared between the two Arctic monitoring stations of Alert, Nunavut, Canada, and Zeppelin Mountain, Svalbard, Norway. Time-series analysis was conducted with the use of dynamic harmonic regression (DHR), which provided a very good model fit, to examine both the seasonal behaviour in these isomers and the longer-term, underlying trends. Strong spatial differences were not apparent between the two sites, although subtle differences in seasonal behaviour and composition were identified. For example, the composition of γ-HCH to total HCH (α + γ) was greater at Zeppelin compared to Alert, probably reflecting this site's proximity to major use regions of lindane. Pronounced seasonality in air concentrations for γ-HCH was marked by a ‘spring maximum event’ (SME), confirming earlier studies. For α-HCH, the SME was much weaker and only evident at Alert, whereas at Zeppelin, seasonal fluctuations for α-HCH were marked by elevated concentrations in summer and lower concentrations during winter, with this pattern most apparent for the years after 2000. We attribute this difference in spatial and temporal patterns to the Arctic oscillation. A similar climatic pattern was not evident at either site in the γ-HCH data. Seasonally adjusted, long-term trends revealed declining concentrations at both sites for α- and γ-HCH over the entire time-series. Recent legislation affecting lindane use appear to account for this decline in γ-HCH, with little evidence of a delay or ‘lag’ between the banning of lindane in Europe (a main source region) or Canada, and a decline in air concentrations observed at both Arctic sites.