High-altitude lake sediments can be used as natural archives to reconstruct the history of pollutants. In this work, the temporal distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) was determined in a sediment core collected from the southern Tibetan Plateau (TP), which was dated by using the 210Pb dating method and validated with the 137Cs fallout peak. The concentrations of the anthropogenic PAHs (Σ8PAH) in the sediment core ranged from 0.83 to 12 ng/g dw, and the fluxes of the Σ8PAH were in the range of 2.1–27 g/cm2/year. The temporal variations in the concentration and input flux of anthropogenic PAHs were low with little variability before the 1950s, and then gradually increased from the 1950s to the 1980s, and an accelerated increase was observed after the early 1980s. The content of total organic carbon played an insignificant role in affecting the time trends of PAHs in the sediment core. Diagnostic concentration fractions of PAH components indicate PAHs in the lake sediment of the southern TP which are mainly from biomass burning and/or from long-range atmospheric transport.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Bi, X., Luo, W., Gao, J. J., Xu, L., Guo, J. M., Zhang, Q. G., et al. (2016). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soils from the Central-Himalaya region: Distribution, sources, and risks to humans and wildlife. Science of the Total Environment, 556, 12–22.
Cheng, H. R., Lin, T., Zhang, G., Liu, G. Q., Zhang, W. L., Qi, S. H., et al. (2014). DDTs and HCHs in sediment cores from the Tibetan Plateau. Chemosphere, 94, 183–189.
Cong, Z. Y., Kang, S. C., Gao, S. P., Zhang, Y. L., Li, Q., & Kawamura, K. (2013). Historical trends of atmospheric black carbon on Tibetan Plateau as reconstructed from a 150-Year lake sediment record. Environmental Science and Technology, 47(6), 2579–2586.
Daly, G. L., & Wania, F. (2005). Organic contaminants in mountains. Environmental Science and Technology, 39(2), 385–398.
Fernandez, P., Vilanova, R. M., & Grimalt, J. O. (1999). Sediment fluxes of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in European high altitude mountain lakes. Environmental Science and Technology, 33(21), 3716–3722.
Fernandez, P., Vilanova, R. M., Martinez, C., Appleby, P., & Grimalt, J. O. (2000). The historical record of atmospheric pyrolytic pollution over Europe registered in the sedimentary PAH from remote mountain lakes. Environmental Science and Technology, 34(10), 1906–1913.
Gao, J., Tian, L. D., Liu, Y. Q., & Gong, T. L. (2009). Oxygen isotope variation in the water cycle of the Yamzho lake Basin in southern Tibetan Plateau. Chinese Science Bulletin, 54(16), 2758–2765.
Grimalt, J. O., van Drooge, B. L., Ribes, A., Fernandez, P., & Appleby, P. (2004). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon composition in soils and sediments of high altitude lakes. Environmental Pollution, 131(1), 13–24.
Guo, J. Y., Wu, F. C., Luo, X. J., Liang, Z., Liao, H. Q., Zhang, R. Y., et al. (2010). Anthropogenic input of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons into five lakes in Western China. Environmental Pollution, 158(6), 2175–2180.
Guzzella, L., Salerno, F., Freppaz, M., Roscioli, C., Pisanello, F., & Poma, G. (2016). POP and PAH contamination in the southern slopes of Mt. Everest (Himalaya, Nepal): Long-range atmospheric transport, glacier shrinkage, or local impact of tourism? Science of the Total Environment, 544, 382–390.
Han, Y. M., Wei, C., Bandowe, B. A. M., Wilcke, W., Cao, J. J., Xu, B. Q., et al. (2015). Elemental carbon and polycyclic aromatic compounds in a 150-Year sediment core from Lake Qinghai, Tibetan Plateau, China: Influence of regional and local sources and transport pathways. Environmental Science and Technology, 49(7), 4176–4183.
Juttner, I., Henkelmann, B., Schramm, K. W., Steinberg, C. E. W., Winkler, R., & Kettrup, A. (1997). Occurrence of PCDD/F in dated lake sediments of the Black Forest, southwestern Germany. Environmental Science and Technology, 31(3), 806–812.
Li, Q. L., Kang, S. C., Wang, N. L., Li, Y., Li, X. F., Dong, Z. W., et al. (2017). Composition and sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in cryoconites of the Tibetan Plateau glaciers. Science of the Total Environment, 574, 991–999.
Liu, J. W., Li, J., Lin, T., Liu, D., Xu, Y., Chaemfa, C., et al. (2013). Diurnal and nocturnal variations of PAHs in the Lhasa atmosphere, Tibetan Plateau: Implication for local sources and the impact of atmospheric degradation processing. Atmospheric Research, 124, 34–43.
Liu, G., Lucas, M., & Shen, L. (2008). Rural household energy consumption and its impacts on eco-environment in Tibet: Taking Taktse county as an example. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 12, 1890–1908.
Liu, L. Y., Wang, J. Z., Wei, G. L., Guan, Y. F., Wong, C. S., & Zeng, E. Y. (2012). Sediment records of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the continental shelf of China: Implications for evolving anthropogenic impacts. Environmental Science and Technology, 46(12), 6497–6504.
Rose, N. L., & Rippey, B. (2002). The historical record of PAH, PCB, trace metal and fly-ash particle deposition at a remote lake in north-west Scotland. Environmental Pollution, 117(1), 121–132.
Shi, X. N., Zhang, F., Tian, L. D., Joswiak, D. R., Zeng, C., & Qu, D. M. (2014). Tracing contributions to hydro-isotopic differences between two adjacent lakes in the southern Tibetan Plateau. Hydrological Processes, 28(22), 5503–5512.
Tao, S., Wang, W. T., Liu, W. X., Zuo, Q. A., Wang, X. L., Wang, R., et al. (2011). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and organochlorine pesticides in surface soils from the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 13(1), 175–181.
Usenko, S., Landers, D. H., Appleby, P. G., & Simonich, S. L. (2007). Current and historical deposition of PBDEs, pesticides, PCBs, and PAHs to rocky mountain national park. Environmental Science and Technology, 41(21), 7235–7241.
van Drooge, B. L., Lopez, J., Fernandez, P., Grimalt, J. O., & Stuchlik, E. (2011). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in lake sediments from the High Tatras. Environmental Pollution, 159(5), 1234–1240.
Van Metre, P. C., Callender, E., & Fuller, C. C. (1997). Historical trends in organochlorine compounds in river basins identified using sediment cores from reservoirs. Environmental Science and Technology, 31(8), 2339–2344.
Wang, S. M., & Dou, H. S. (1998). Lakes of China. Beijing: Science Press.
Wang, C. F., Wang, X. P., Gong, P., & Yao, T. D. (2014). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in surface soil across the Tibetan Plateau: Spatial distribution, source and air-soil exchange. Environmental Pollution, 184, 138–144.
Wang, X. P., Yang, H. D., Gong, P., Zhao, X., Wu, G. J., Turner, S., et al. (2010). One century sedimentary records of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, mercury and trace elements in the Qinghai Lake, Tibetan Plateau. Environmental Pollution, 158(10), 3065–3070.
Wilcke, W. (2007). Global patterns of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soil. Geoderma, 141(3–4), 157–166.
Xiao, H., Kang, S. C., Zhang, Q. G., Han, W. W., Loewen, M., Wong, F., et al. (2010). Transport of semivolatile organic compounds to the Tibetan Plateau: Monthly resolved air concentrations at Nam Co. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 115(D16), 751–763.
Yang, H. D., Battarbee, R. W., Turner, S. D., Rose, N. L., Derwent, R. G., Wu, G. J., et al. (2010). Historical reconstruction of mercury pollution across the Tibetan Plateau using lake sediments. Environmental Science and Technology, 44(8), 2918–2924.
Yang, R. Q., Jing, C. Y., Zhang, Q. H., Wang, Z. H., Wang, Y. W., Li, Y. M., et al. (2011). Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and mercury in fish from lakes of the Tibetan Plateau. Chemosphere, 83(6), 862–867.
Yang, R. Q., Xie, T., Li, A., Yang, H. D., Turner, S., Wu, G. J., et al. (2016). Sedimentary records of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in remote lakes across the Tibetan Plateau. Environmental Pollution, 214, 1–7.
Yang, R. Q., Zhang, S. J., Li, A., Jiang, G. B., & Jing, C. Y. (2013). Altitudinal and spatial signature of persistent organic pollutants in soil, lichen, conifer needles, and bark of the southeast Tibetan Plateau: Implications for sources and environmental cycling. Environmental Science and Technology, 47(22), 12736–12743.
Yin, R. S., Feng, X. B., Hurley, J. P., Krabbenhoft, D. P., Lepak, R. F., Kang, S. C., et al. (2016). Historical records of mercury stable isotopes in sediments of Tibetan lakes. Scientific Reports. doi:10.1038/srep23332.
Yuan, G. L., Wu, L. J., Sun, Y., Li, J. J., Li, C., & Wang, G. H. (2015). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soils of the central Tibetan Plateau, China: Distribution, sources, transport and contribution in global cycling. Environmental Pollution, 203, 137–144.
Yunker, M. B., Macdonald, R. W., Vingarzan, R., Mitchell, R. H., Goyette, D., & Sylvestre, S. (2002). PAHs in the Fraser River basin: A critical appraisal of PAH ratios as indicators of PAH source and composition. Organic Geochemistry, 33(4), 489–515.
Zhang, X. L., Tao, S., Liu, W. X., Yang, Y., Zuo, Q., & Liu, S. Z. (2005). Source diagnostics of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons based on species ratios: A multimedia approach. Environmental Science and Technology, 39(23), 9109–9114.
This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21277167 and 21577164).
About this article
Cite this article
Yang, R., Zhou, R., Xie, T. et al. Historical record of anthropogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in a lake sediment from the southern Tibetan Plateau. Environ Geochem Health 40, 1899–1906 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-017-9956-z
- Sediment core
- Alpine lake
- Historical trend
- Tibetan Plateau