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Resolving the long-term trend of PAHs in the Canadian Arctic atmosphere.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date05/2006
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Journal number10
Volume40
Number of pages6
Pages3217-3222
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) air concentrations measured over the period 1992-2000 at the Canadian High Arctic station of Alert were subject to time-series analysis using dynamic harmonic regression (DHR). For most of the PAHs, the DHR model fit to the observed data was good, with DHR capable of interpolating over missing data points during periods when air concentrations were below detection limits. As expected, DHR identified seasonal increases in PAH air concentrations. However, it has also identified additional, subtler "seasonal" patterns as a series of harmonics with varying periodicity. For example, a regular summer high in air concentrations was apparent for many PAHs, particularly the lower molecular weight (two- to three-ringed) compounds, which may be attributed to summertime regional combustion events such as forest fires and/or revolatilization from surfaces (e.g., soil and oceans, as well as arctic surfaces). Comparison of wintertime PAH concentrations (where PAH ranged from 260 to 516 pg m-3) with an earlier arctic study did not reveal a reduction in PAH levels. However, removal of the seasonal components by DHR revealed a declining trend in PAH concentrations over the 1992-2000 period. For many lighter PAHs, this was typified by a linear decrease over the whole time series, although, for the higher molecular weight PAHs, a marked reduction was apparent in the first few years of sampling followed by a leveling off in concentrations by the mid/late-1990s. This behavior is similar to reported trends of other air pollutants in the Arctic, may be attributed to the decline in Soviet industry during the early 1990s, and has implications regarding the major PAH sources affecting the Arctic.

Bibliographic note

The continued partnership of Halsall with the Meteorological Services of Canada, gave rise to this paper. Becker was a NERC-funded PhD student for Halsall (author for correspondence). The work utilises time-series modelling to interpret long-term trends in pollutants and features significantly in the UNEP's Global Monitoring Program Guidance Document. RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences