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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 01 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 01 Aug 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Atmosphere–ocean exchange of heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the Russian Arctic Ocean

Xiaowen Ji1,2, Evgeny Abakumov2, and Xianchuan Xie1 Xiaowen Ji et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, Center for Hydrosciences Research, School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing210093, P. R. China
  • 2Department of Applied Ecology, Saint Petersburg State University, 16-line, 29, Vasilyevskiy Island, Saint Petersburg 199178, Russian Federation

Abstract. Heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can greatly influence biotic activities and organic sources in the ocean. However, fluxes of these compounds as well as their fate, transport, and net input in the Arctic Ocean have not been thoroughly assessed. During April–November of the 2016 Russian High Latitude Expedition, 51 air (gases, aerosols, wet deposition) and water samples were collected from the Russian Arctic within the Barents Sea, Kara Sea, Leptev Sea, and East Siberian Sea. Here, we report on the Russian Arctic assessment of the occurrence in dry and wet deposition of 35 PAHs and 9 metals (Pb, Cd, Cu, Zn, Fe, Mn, Ni, and Hg), as well as the atmosphere–ocean fluxes of 35 PAHs and Hg0. We observed that Hg was mainly in the gas phase and Pb was most abundant in the gas phase compared with the aerosol and dissolved water phases. Mn, Fe, Pb, and Zn showed apparently higher levels than the other metals in the three phases. According to the results for the 35 detected PAHs, the concentrations of PAHs in aerosols and the dissolved water phase were about one magnitude higher than those in gas. The abundances of higher molecular weight PAHs were highest in the aerosols. Higher levels of both heavy metals and PAHs were observed in the Barents Sea, Kara Sea, and East Siberian Sea, which were close to areas with urban and industrial sites. Diagnostic ratios of phenanthrene / anthracene to fluoranthene / pyrene showed a pyrogenic source for the aerosols and gases, while the patterns for the dissolved water phase were indicative of both petrogenic and pyrogenic sources; pyrogenic sources were most prevalent in the Kara Sea and Leptev Sea. These differences between air and seawater reflect the different sources of PAHs through atmospheric transport, which included anthropogenic sources for gases and aerosols and mixtures of anthropogenic and biogenic sources along the continent in the Russian Arctic. The average dry deposition of ∑9metals and ∑35PAHs was 1749 ng m−2 d−1 and 1108 ng m−2 d−1, respectively. The average wet deposition of ∑9metals and ∑35PAHs was 33.29 μg m−2 d−1 and 221.31 μg m−2 d−1, respectively. For the atmosphere–sea exchange, the monthly atmospheric input of ∑35PAHs was estimated at 1040 tonnes. The monthly atmospheric Hg input was approximately 530 tonnes. These additional inputs of hazardous compounds may be disturbing the biochemical cycles in the Arctic Ocean.

Xiaowen Ji et al.
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Short summary
High-resolution data on environmental contaminants are not available for many areas of the Arctic, and thus, the results from this study are important for rectifying these data gaps. The results showed that along the track of the research vessel in the Russian Arctic, the islands close to industrial and urban areas in the Barents Sea and Kara Sea had more significant levels of PAHs and metals than other areas. Sources of contaminants likely included both natural and anthropogenic sources.
High-resolution data on environmental contaminants are not available for many areas of the...