Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 105, Issue 1, pp 459-470

First online:

Quantifying Fine-Scale Variability in Pollutant Deposition in Complex Terrain using 210Pb Inventories in Soil

  • D. FowlerAffiliated withInstitute of Terrestrial Ecology
  • , R.I. SmithAffiliated withInstitute of Terrestrial Ecology
  • , I.D. LeithAffiliated withInstitute of Terrestrial Ecology
  • , A. CrossleyAffiliated withInstitute of Terrestrial Ecology
  • , R.W. MourneAffiliated withFaculty of the Built Environment, University of the West of England
  • , D.W. BranfordAffiliated withDepartment of Physics, University of Edinburgh
  • , M. MoghaddamAffiliated withDepartment of Physics, University of Edinburgh

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The accumulation of 210Pb in organic material within the surface (0 to 20 cm depth) horizons of soil is used to quantify local variability in the atmospheric inputs through wet deposition, cloud droplet deposition and dry deposition of aerosols. The method has been applied to quantify the long-term (~50 yr) average enhancement in deposition as a consequence of orographic effects on a 800 m mountain in southwest Scotland. The 210Pb inventory increases by a factor of 2.5 up the hillslope and is comparable to the modeled increase in wet deposition of major ions, and larger than the increase in rainfall with altitude by a factor of two. A second study site examined the increase in deposition beneath a Norway spruce canopy relative to open grassland at an elevation of 450 m in the Scottish Borders. The inventory of 210Pb under the forest canopy exceeded that in the grassland by approximately 35%, in good agreement with deposition estimates obtained from a continuous record of cloud frequency and meteorological variables.

aerosol deposition atmospheric deposition orographic effects 210Pb pollutant deposition Scotland