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A Chinese Imprint in Insoluble Pollutants Recently Deposited in Central Greenland As Indicated by Lead Isotopes

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journal contribution
posted on 04.02.2014, 00:00 by Aloys J.-M. Bory, Wafa Abouchami, Stephen J. G. Galer, Anders Svensson, John N. Christensen, Pierre E. Biscaye
A unique ∼10 year record of the lead isotopic composition of airborne insoluble particulate matter deposited in central Greenland was extracted from recent snow layers at NorthGRIP (75.1°N, 042.3°W; elevation 2,959 m), spanning the years 1989–2001. Comparison with lead isotopic signatures of both natural and anthropogenic northern hemisphere (NH) aerosol sources shows that human activities must have accounted for most of the insoluble lead deposited on Greenland during the late 1990s, exceeding by far the natural contribution from large Asian mineral dust inputs. Lead isotopes imply predominance with time of European/Canadian sources over U.S.-derived lead, with an admixed signature typical of Chinese anthropogenic lead sources. The relative contribution of the latter shows a marked seasonal increase during spring. Our record also suggests that China’s weight in the overall supply of insoluble pollutants deposited on Greenland was growing over the past decade of the 20th century.

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