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Annual Variation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Concentrations in Precipitation Collected near the Great Lakes

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journal contribution
posted on 01.02.2006, 00:00 by Ping Sun, Sean Backus, Pierrette Blanchard, Ronald A. Hites
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations were measured in precipitation samples collected from 1997 to 2003 at seven sites near the Great Lakes as a part of the Integrated Atmospheric Deposition Network. The 28-day integrated concentrations of most PAHs showed significant seasonal trends with higher concentrations in the winter and lower concentrations in the summer. Long-term decreasing trends were observed for all PAHs measured in precipitation at Chicago. At the sites on Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Erie, most PAHs did not show significant long-term trends. At the two Canadian sites on Lakes Huron and Ontario, lower molecular weight PAHs (e.g., fluorene to pyrene) showed long-term decreasing trends; however, no long-term trends were observed for higher molecular weight PAHs at these sites. Interestingly, retene, a marker for wood burning, showed increasing trends at the sites on Lakes Superior and Michigan. For all the other PAHs, precipitation collected at Chicago had by far the highest PAH concentrations followed by the site on Lake Erie. Generally, the Lake Superior sites had the lowest PAH concentrations. However, retene concentrations in precipitation collected at the Lake Superior site were higher compared to Lakes Michigan and Erie, which indicate more residential wood burning in the far north of the Great Lakes basin.