TITLE

Modelling impact of climate change on atmospheric transport and fate of persistent organic pollutants in the Arctic

AUTHOR(S)
Hansen, K. M.; Christensen, J. H.; Geels, C.; Silver, J. D.; Brandt, J.
PUB. DATE
March 2015
SOURCE
Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics Discussions;2015, Vol. 15 Issue 5, p6509
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The Danish Eulerian Hemispheric Model (DEHM) was applied to investigate how projected climate changes will affect the atmospheric transport of 13 persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to the Artic and their environmental fate within the Arctic. Two sets of simulations were performed, one with initial environmental concentrations from a 20 year spin-up simulation and one with initial environmental concentrations set to zero. Each set of simulations consisted of two ten-year time slices representing the present (1990-2000) and future (2090-2100) climate conditions. The same POP emissions were applied in all simulations to ensure that the difference in predicted concentrations for each set of simulations only arises from the difference in climate input. DEHM was driven using meteorological input from the global circulation model, ECHAM/MPI-OM, simulating the SRES A1B climate scenario. Under the applied climate and emission scenarios, the total mass of all compounds was predicted to be up to 20% higher across the Northern Hemisphere. The mass of HCHs within the Arctic was predicted to be up to 39% higher, whereas the change in mass of the PCBs was predicted to range from 14% lower to 17% higher depending on the congener and the applied initial environmental concentrations. The results of this study also indicate that contaminants with no or a short emission history will be more rapidly transported to and build up in the arctic environment in a future warmer climate. The process that dominates the environmental behaviour of POPs in the Arctic under a future warmer climate scenario is the shift in mass of POPs from the surface media to the atmosphere induced by the higher mean temperature. This is to some degree counteracted by higher degradation rates also following the higher mean temperature. The more dominant of these two processes depend on the physical-chemical properties of the compounds. Previous model studies have predicted that the effect of a changed climate on the transport of POPs to the Arctic is moderate relatively to the effect of proposed changes in emissions, which is confirmed in this study. However, the model studies do not agree on whether climate change acts to reduce or increase environmental concentrations of POPs in the Arctic, and further work is needed to resolve this matter.
ACCESSION #
101617020

 

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