Persistent organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls in air of the North Sea region and air-sea exchange

Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Sep 2016

Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were studied to determine occurrence, levels and spatial distribution in the marine atmosphere and surface seawater during cruises in the German Bight and the wider North Sea in spring and summer 2009–2010. In general, the concentrations found in air are similar to, or below, the levels at coastal or near-coastal sites in Europe. Hexachlorobenzene and α-hexachlorocyclohexane (α-HCH) were close to phase equilibrium, whereas net atmospheric deposition was observed for γ-HCH. The results suggest that declining trends of HCH in seawater have been continuing for γ-HCH but have somewhat levelled off for α-HCH. Dieldrin displayed a close to phase equilibrium in nearly all the sampling sites, except in the central southwestern part of the North Sea. Here atmospheric deposition dominates the air-sea exchange. This region, close to the English coast, showed remarkably increased surface seawater concentrations. This observation depended neither on riverine input nor on the elevated abundances of dieldrin in the air masses of central England. A net depositional flux of p,p′-DDE into the North Sea was indicated by both its abundance in the marine atmosphere and the changes in metabolite pattern observed in the surface water from the coast towards the open sea. The long-term trends show that the atmospheric concentrations of DDT and its metabolites are not declining. Riverine input is a major source of PCBs in the German Bight and the wider North Sea. Atmospheric deposition of the lower molecular weight PCBs (PCB28 and PCB52) was indicated as a major source for surface seawater pollution.

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Persistent organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls in air of the North Sea region and air-sea exchange

Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were studied to determine occurrence, levels and spatial distribution in the marine atmosphere and surface seawater during cruises in the German Bight and the wider North Sea in spring and summer 2009–2010. In general, the concentrations found in air are similar to, or below, the levels at coastal or near-coastal sites in Europe. Hexachlorobenzene and α-hexachlorocyclohexane (α-HCH) were close to phase equilibrium, whereas net atmospheric deposition was observed for γ-HCH. The results suggest that declining trends of HCH in seawater have been continuing for γ-HCH but have somewhat levelled off for α-HCH. Dieldrin displayed a close to phase equilibrium in nearly all the sampling sites, except in the central southwestern part of the North Sea. Here atmospheric deposition dominates the air-sea exchange. This region, close to the English coast, showed remarkably increased surface seawater concentrations. This observation depended neither on riverine input nor on the elevated abundances of dieldrin in the air masses of central England. A net depositional flux of p,p′-DDE into the North Sea was indicated by both its abundance in the marine atmosphere and the changes in metabolite pattern observed in the surface water from the coast towards the open sea. The long-term trends show that the atmospheric concentrations of DDT and its metabolites are not declining. Riverine input is a major source of PCBs in the German Bight and the wider North Sea. Atmospheric deposition of the lower molecular weight PCBs (PCB28 and PCB52) was indicated as a major source for surface seawater pollution.


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Carolin Mai, Norbert Theobald, Heinrich Hühnerfuss, Gerhard Lammel. Persistent organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls in air of the North Sea region and air-sea exchange, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 2016, 23648-23661, DOI: 10.1007/s11356-016-7530-3