Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 499-513

First online:

Lake-Sediment Evidence for Local and Remote Sources of Atmospherically Deposited Pollutants on Svalbard

  • N.L. RoseAffiliated withEnvironmental Change Research Centre, University College London Email author 
  • , C.L. RoseAffiliated withNational Environmental Technology Centre, AEA Technology
  • , J.F. BoyleAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of Liverpool
  • , P.G. ApplebyAffiliated withDepartment of Mathematical Sciences, University of Liverpool

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Twenty-one lakes along the west coast of Svalbard were cored between 28 July and 14 August 1995. Five cores were 210Pb dated and analysed for spheroidal carbonaceous particles (SCPs), indicators of deposition from fossil-fuel combustion sources, and trace metals. Surface and pre-industrial levels of five cores were analysed for 10 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) isomers and 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds, whilst all 21 surface sediments were analysed for SCPs. Temporal and spatial trends in the atmospheric deposition of pollutants were identified. Whilst temporal patterns of deposited pollutants may have been truncated due to concentrations falling below the limits of detection, spatial patterns showed elevated levels of SCP, PAH, PCB, and possibly Pb within 60–70 km of Isfjord. Tenndammen (U), the closest site to Longyearbyen, showed the highest levels of contamination for all pollutants. Differences in the deposition patterns of PAH and PCB are thought to be due to local sources of PAH from coal combustion whilst PCB sources are remote. It is concluded that the impact from atmospheric deposition on Svalbard is due to a combination of spatially limited local sources superimposed on a broad-scale, long-range pattern.

Arctic Atmospheric deposition PAH PCB Pollution Spheroidal carbonaceous particles Svalbard Trace metals