1150 Arctic Catchment as a Sensitive Indicator of the Environmental Changes: As Example Revelva Catchment (Svalbard)

Wednesday, 10 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Marek Ruman, Univ. of Silesia, Sosnowiec, Poland; and Z. Polkowska, K. Kozak, and K. Kosek


Marek Rumanab*, Żaneta Polkowskac, Katarzyna Kozakc, Klaudia Kosekc

a Faculty of Earth Sciences, University of Silesia, 60 Będzińska St., Sosnowiec 41-200, Poland;

b Centre for Polar Studies KNOW (Leading National Research Centre), Bedzinska 60 St., 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland

c Department of Analytical Chemistry, The Chemical Faculty, Gdansk University of Technology, 11/12 Narutowicza St., Gdansk 80-233;

* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed: E-Mail: marek.ruman@us.edu.pl (M.R.).

Keywords: Arctic; trace elements, metals, TOC, Svalbard, volcanic eruption


The intensification of the industrial activity combined with a limited concern for the environment contributed to the worldwide degradation of the natural environment, including remote areas. The direct human impact on the landscape of the Arctic is limited, but remote human activity may change the chemical composition of the elements of the polar environment, especially by introducing contaminants, such as heavy metals. The migration of heavy metals in the tundra environment requires special attention, since its fragile ecosystem is readily influenced by air, water and soil quality. A tundra-covered Arctic river catchment was therefore chosen as a study site, in order to show the pollution levels and the following migration processes in a sequence from source to sink. We aim to establish, whether the experienced contamination levels are harmful to the local environment, which can only be done in the context of environmental transport pathways. A suite of interconnected hydrochemical partitioning processes may influence the metal concentrations in the Arctic environment.

High-Arctic catchment (Revelva, Svalbard) located remotely from human-induced pollution sources is studied in respect to the distribution and migration of chosen trace elements (Ag, Al, As, B, Ba, Bi, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Cs, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, Se, Sr, Tl, U, V and Zn) in surface waters. The metal concentrations fluctuated in 2010-2012 between 0.01 and 354 μg L-1, the highest mean-weighted concentration noted for Sr (42.5 μg L-1). The concentrations in the river water were likely influenced by both natural and human-activity-related processes. These factors can produce substances of the same chemical composition (e.g. carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and metals may be emitted both by a volcanic eruption and industrial sources). Therefore, chemometric techniques were used in the current paper to distinguish the multiple sources of pollution in the Revelva catchment. The authors were seeking to determine whether there is indeed evidence for contamination, sufficient to cause environmental damage in polar region. As a result, it was shown that the long-range transport could play an important role in shaping the metal concentration profile of this Arctic tundra environment, capturing both the influence of volcanic eruptions within the region and the human activity in a range of distances from the study site.

The authors would like to thank the staff of the Polish Polar Station at Hornsund for the opportunity to carry out sampling and for their assistance with this work. Thanks the National Science Centre for research funding grant no. 2013/09/N/ST10/04191.

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