American Chemical Society
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Sources and Pathways of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Transported to Alert, the Canadian High Arctic

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journal contribution
posted on 2010-02-01, 00:00 authored by Rong Wang, Shu Tao, Bin Wang, Yu Yang, Chang Lang, Yanxu Zhang, Jing Hu, Jianmin Ma, Hayley Hung
A probabilistic function (integrated source contribution function, ISCF) based on backward air mass trajectory calculation was developed to track sources and atmospheric pathways of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to the Canadian High Arctic station of Alert. In addition to the movement of air masses, the emission intensities at the sources and the major processes of partition, indirect photolysis, and deposition occurring on the way to the Arctic were incorporated into the ISCF. The predicted temporal trend of PAHs at Alert was validated by measured PAH concentrations throughout 2004. The PAH levels in the summer are orders of magnitude lower than those in the winter and spring when long-range atmospheric transport events occur more frequently. PAHs observed at Alert are mostly from East Asia (including Russia Far East), North Europe (including European Russia), and North America. These sources account for 25, 45, and 27% of PAHs atmospheric level at Alert, respectively. Source regions and transport pathways contributing to the PAHs contamination in the Canadian High Arctic vary seasonally. In the winter, Russia and Europe are the major sources. PAHs from these sources travel eastward and turn to the north at approximately 120°E before reaching Alert, in conjunction with the well-known Arctic haze events. In the spring, PAHs from Russia and Europe first migrate to the west and then turn to the north at 60°W toward Alert. The majority of PAHs in the summer are from northern Canada where they are carried to Alert via low-level transport pathways. In the fall, 70% of PAHs arriving at Alert are delivered from North American sources.