Snow cores were collected in the catchment area of five remote mountain lakes in Europe. They were analysed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), and organochlorine pesticides, namely DDTs, hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCH). PAH are found in higher amounts in the Tatra and Caledonian mountains, PCB are higher in the Alps and HCH are highest in the Alps and Pyrenees. The qualitative PAH distributions are dominated by low molecular weight compounds, phenanthrene being the most abundant PAH in all but in one site. These compounds also occur predominantly in the gas phase in the atmosphere. Their high abundance in the snowpack witness the occurrence of effective transfer mechanisms from gas to snow flakes. In Starolesnianske (Tatra mountains), a higher contribution of high molecular weight compounds is found. This site exhibits the highest snow PAH and suspended particulate levels. Transformation of the concentration values of these compounds into annual deposition rates and correction for catchment/lake area indicates that in Scandinavia and the Alps a large proportion of PAH incorporation is mediated by snowfallout whereas in the Tatra mountains snow deposition only accounts for a small fraction of the compounds stored in the lake sediments. Among organochlorine compounds, only PCB and HCH have been found above method detection limit in most of the samples. The PCB congener distributions changes significantly between sites, although a predominance of the less chlorinated congeners have generally been observed.
Atmospheric Environment – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2001
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