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Distribution of chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides and pcbs in the arctic ocean



Distribution of chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides and pcbs in the arctic ocean



Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences (1644): I-IX, 1-224



Organochlorine pesticides and PCBs were analyzed in air, snow, ice, seawater, sediment, plankton and benthic amphipods collected north of Axel Heiberg Island (81.degree.N). Sampling was carried out through first year ice adjacent to an ice island on which the polar Continental Shelf project has established a permanent camp. Samples were collected in May and late August, early September 1986 and again in June 1987. Although present a concentrations that are among the lowest reported anywhere in the world, organochlorine pesticides were detectable and quantifiable in most samples. The most abundant compounds in air, snow, ice and seawater were alpha and gamma hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCH) Total HCH levels ranged from 500 pf/m3 in air to 5000 pg/L in surface (0-50 m) seawater. Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) was the next most abundant compound in air (100 pg,m3) but because of its low solubility, was much less abundant in ice or water (< 20 pg/L). Cyclodiene pesticides (chlordane, dieldrin, .alpha. endosulfan, heptachlor). DDT, DDE, methoxychlor and PCBs were present at trace levels in air and water (<10 pg/m3 air; <10 pg/L water) but were relatively abundant in melted snow (up to 100 pg/L) indicating efficient scavenging from air. Three types of compounds, PCBs, DDE and cis-chlordane were detected in surface sediments. Concentrations were less than 50 pg/g. DDT, DDE, PCBs and cyclodiene pesticides (chlordane, dieldrin) were preferentially concentrated in biota. These compounds were the most abundant organochlorines in plankton and pelagic amphipods. DDT, DDE and PCBs were concentrated by a further factor of 10-50 in benthic amphipods compared to samples of plankton or pelagic amphipods from under the ice. The distribution and abundance of organochlorines in seawater indicates the major souce to be at the surface. Concentrations of all organochlorines were highest in the well mixed low salinity surface layer (0-50 m) and decreased with depth through the halocline. Atmospheric concentrations and levels in snow and ice along with available data for inflowing Bering Sea and river water indicate that atmospheric transport is the major source or organochlorines to the Arctic Basin. Atlantic water below the haloclone by extrapolation appears to have very low organochlorine concentrations. The volume of inflowing North Pacific and river water and concentrations of orgnochlorines in these waters is insufficient to produce the observed surface seawater concentrations.

Accession: 007220438

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