Modelling of Heavy Metals: Study of Impacts Due to Climate Change
Heavy metals are a category of pollutants recognized as dangerous to human health and human exposure occurs through all environmental media. Since metals are naturally occurring chemicals that do not break down in the environment and can accumulate in soils, water and the sediments of lakes and rivers, it is important to evaluate the contribution of natural emission sources in the environment. Owing to climate change, the water content in soil is decreased while evapotranspiration is increased as a consequence the higher resuspension of soil dust particles. In this work, a modelling study of heavy metals was performed in order to assess the levels of heavy metals pollution, particularly lead, in Croatia and to estimate the effects of an increase in lead natural emissions due to climate change.
Heavy metals are emitted into environment mainly as a result of anthropogenic activities, complemented by naturally occurring chemicals in the environment; therefore it is important to evaluate the contribution and patterns of their natural emissions. The main paths for heavy metals through the atmosphere and water are dispersion and deposition processes leading to the accumulation in soils and water sediments, which, consequently, become reservoirs for secondary, semi-natural release of heavy metals back to the atmosphere and other media. Both the strength and spatial patterns of this release naturally depend on climate conditions and change accordingly. A rise in temperature causes soil water content to decrease while evapotranspiration increases, and thus impacts resuspension of soil dust particles. In this study, modelling of heavy metals, particularly lead, was performed in order to assess the influence of climate-sensitive variables and resuspension of heavy metals to the levels and their distribution in Croatia.
KeywordsHeavy metals Climate change Health impacts Resuspension
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