714 Load of Heavy Metals Reaching Small Glacial Catchment of High Arctic (Svalbard) by Rain Waters

Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Zaneta Polkowska, Polish Chemical Society, Gdansk, Poland; and S. Lehmann, G. Gajek, W. Kociuba, and S. Chmiel

Long Range Atmospheric Transport of Pollutants (LRTAP) to polar regions of Northern Hemisphere is highly important phenomenon which cause a great contamination in this highly sensitive environment. A vast number of scientists emphasize the presence of metals in air, water and biotic environment of Arctic. Presence of metals originating from industrialized and urbanized areas of lower latitudes (Eurasia) may cause negative impact on Arctic biota due to their potential toxicity or ecotoxicity. The study on the presence of heavy metals (Li, Be, B, Al, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, As, Sr, Cd, Cs, La, Ir, Pb, Th, U) in rain waters were conducted in NW part of the Wedel Jarlsberg Land (Bellsund, SW Svalbard). Metals were determined by the method of ion coupled plasma mass spectrometry (Thermo Scientific XSERIES 2 ICP-MS). Metals originating from Eurasian industrialized areas reach Scott River catchment as a result of wet deposition of pollutants on the area of approximately 10 km2 (40% of which is covered by the valley Scott Glacier). Scott River is fed by glacial waters in 90% , nival and precipitation waters account for 4% of its water supply each, and permafrost - 2%. Waters of the Scott River are collecting metals originating from weathering of the Earth crust or wet deposition from the atmosphere as well as chemical compounds (e.g. phenols, formaldehyde and ions), from the area of 10 km2. These waters finally flows to the Bellsund fjord and may carry a significant load of pollutants to the sea waters. In this work the concentration of approximately twenty metals in precipitation waters is examined and their load to 10 km2 of Scott River catchment is estimated. Samples of rain waters were collected to a sampler placed in a Hellman rain gauge (200 cm2 – surface of the inlet ring) from July 13 to August 24 on the seaside terrace in the vicinity of the “Calypsobyen” station. A portable weather station as well as the rain gauge were placed at an altitude of 23 m a.s.l. and approximately 200 m from the seashore. During period of sampling rain waters were collected eleven times in volume of 17.5 to 141.5 ml a day. Metals as Be, Ir and Th were noted below limit of detection. The higher concentrations of metals in these samples were noted for iron (28.32µg/L), strontium (14.38 µg/L), manganium (11.60 µg/L). The higher loads of metals to Scott River catchment were calculated for Sr (2.34 kg/10 km2), Fe (1.82 kg/10 km2), B (1.20 kg/10 km2), and Mn (1.00 kg/10 km2). The load of twelve metals were noted below one kilogram on a 10km2 of Scott River catchment where four of them (As, Cs, La, U) were calculated on a levels below 0.01 kg/10km2. Outlined above loads of metals reached the Scott River catchment during summer season of 2012 due to process of wet deposition. Only 4% of metals present in the precipitation waters fed glacier river waters directly. The rest of metals noted in rain waters reach Scott River with the surface runoff from glacier and polar tundra. Presence of heavy metals in the precipitation water prove that large loads of metals are still transported through the Long Range Atmoshperic Transport (LRATP) to the polar environment. The study was conducted in the scope of the 24th Polar Expedition of the Marie Curie-Sk³odowska University in Lublin to Spitsbergen, implementing grant of the National Science Centre “Mechanisms of fluvial transport and delivery of sediment to the Arctic river channels with different hydrologic regime (SW Spitsbergen) No. 2011/01/B/ST10/06996”.
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