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Lead pollution in Antarctic surface snow revealed along the route of the International Trans-Antarctic Expedition

  • Qin Dahe (a1), Paul A. Mayewski (a2), W. Berry Lyons (a3), Sun Junying (a1) and Hou Shugui (a1)...

Abstract

This paper reports the lead concentration and flux (where accumulation rate is available) along the route of the 1990 International Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The lead concentration in Larsen Ice Shelf and Antarctic Peninsula, the western part of the route, was 7.4 ± 4.1 pg g−1. The lead concentration in East Antarctic snow (South Pole to Mirny station) was 2 3 times higher than that in West Antarctica (Larsen Ice Shelf to South Pole). Taking into account the difference in site conditions, the difference between the above value over this area in 1989 and the value of 6.3 ±3.3 pg g−1 at a site within this area in 1980 (Wolff and Peel, 1985) is not significant. Because the relative contribution of soil dust, volcanoes and the oceans to lead concentration in Antarctica is about 0.5 pg g−1 under modern climatic conditions (Boutron and Patterson, 1987), it is believed that the lead in Antarctic surface snow is dominated by pollution input. The lead-concentration increase from west to east over the trans-Antarctic route suggests that remote Antarctica has been impacted by anthropogenic activities. The lowest lead flux (0.064 ng cn-2 a−1) was on the Antarctic Plateau, mainly reflecting the background global pollution. The mean flux of 0.273 ng cnT2 a−1 in the western part of the route (Larsen Ice Shelf to the Ellsworth Mountains) may result from the pollution input from the Southern Hemisphere. In addition to the influence of global and/or hemispheric pollution, local activities (notably the use of leaded gasolene) appear to have affected the region from Pionerskaya to Mirny.

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References

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Lead pollution in Antarctic surface snow revealed along the route of the International Trans-Antarctic Expedition

  • Qin Dahe (a1), Paul A. Mayewski (a2), W. Berry Lyons (a3), Sun Junying (a1) and Hou Shugui (a1)...

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