Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 86, Issue 1, pp 283–316

A model strategy for the simulation of chlorinated hydrocarbon distributions in the global environment


  • Asbjørn Strand
    • Geophysical InstituteUniversity of Bergen
  • Øystein Hov
    • Geophysical InstituteUniversity of Bergen

DOI: 10.1007/BF00279163

Cite this article as:
Strand, A. & Hov, Ø. Water Air Soil Pollut (1996) 86: 283. doi:10.1007/BF00279163


A model strategy that can be used for the study of global distributions of chlorinated hydrocarbons in the environment is presented. In this first approach the number of compartments and processes are kept on a minimum level by only considering the atmosphere, ocean and soil. Important processes are simulated or replaced by simple parameterizations, while processes believed to be less important are temporally omitted. The transport in the atmosphere is simulated by a simple two-dimensional zonally averaged model with a rather coarse resolution of 6 equally spaced latitude zones and 4 vertical layers. The soil is included in the model by dividing the continents into the same latitude zones as the atmosphere, and the land area in each zone into an uncultivated part and a cultivated part where pesticides may be incorporated. A model for tracer transport in the ocean which combines the features of the box and box-diffusion models has been modified for use in this study. Material is exchanged between the compartments by the processes believed to be most important in the real environment. The model is tested by simulating the life cycle of the α and γ isomers of hexachlorocyclohexane in the environment. The emissions of the two isomers are estimated from the total world consumption of HCH, and it is assumed that a fraction of 50% is lost to the atmosphere for long range transport during application or during the first days therefore. Comparison with observations indicates that in spite of the many assumptions and uncertain parameters the model is able to reproduce the atmospheric and oceanic concentration levels of εHCH. The HCH simulation indicates that the presented model strategy is usable when the aim is to increase the understanding of chlorinated hydrocarbons in the global environment. For the prediction of concentration levels in specific areas on the other hand, the present model strategy does not apply. The resolution of the model is too coarse and the simplifications are too extensive for such estimates to be valid.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996