Long-Range Transport: Implications for Polar Regions

  • Crispin J Halsall


The Polar Regions were once considered to be pristine areas beyond the reach of industrialised pollution. However, over the last thirty years there has been growing concern over the intrusion of anthropogenic (man made) pollutants and their effect on the polar ecosystems. The Arctic has generally received more attention than the Antarctic, simply because of the proximity of areas of high population density and industrial output in the Northern Hemisphere. Furthermore, the Arctic region supports indigenous peoples, which rely on this ecosystem for their survival and culture. Aside from point pollution events, such as the hydrogen bomb tests in the Russian Arctic, oil spills and mining activity, much of the contamination is believed to be atmospherically derived (CACAR, 1997; AMAP, 1997). It was during the 1950s that the term ‘Arctic haze’ was coined by US pilots, who noted a brown haze at different layers in the lower troposphere during polar sunrise in April (Mitchell, 1956; Raatz, 1984). Subsequent scientific investigation revealed that the haze was derived through long-range atmospheric transport of airborne pollutants from source regions further south, particularly Eurasia (Rahn and McCaffrey, 1980). The haze was found to consist of combustion products such as carbonaceous particulate matter, heavy metals and basic air pollutants such as SOx and NOx (reviewed by Barrie, 1986). These species can be considered as ‘one hop’, in that they are emitted from sources, subject to atmospheric transport and ultimately deposited.


Polar Region Organochlorine Pesticide Atmospheric Transport Global Fractionation Inuit Woman 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

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  • Crispin J Halsall

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