Remoteness from sources of persistent organic pollutants in the multi-media global environment

GÖKTAŞ R. K. , MacLeod M.

ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION, vol.217, pp.33-41, 2016 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 217
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.envpol.2015.12.058
  • Page Numbers: pp.33-41


Quantifying the remoteness from sources of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) can inform the design of monitoring studies and the interpretation of measurement data. Previous work on quantifying remoteness has not explicitly considered partitioning between the gas phase and aerosols, and between the atmosphere and the Earth's surface. The objective of this study is to present a metric of remoteness for POPs transported through the atmosphere calculated with a global multimedia fate model, BETR-Research. We calculated the remoteness of regions covering the entire globe from emission sources distributed according to light emissions, and taking into account the multimedia partitioning properties of chemicals and using averaged global climate data. Remoteness for hypothetical chemicals with distinct partitioning properties (volatile, seimi-volatile, hydrophilic, low-volatility) and having two different half-lives in air (60-day and 2-day) are presented. Differences in remoteness distribution among the hypothetical chemicals are most pronounced in scenarios assuming 60-day half-life in air. In scenarios with a 2-day half-life in air, degradation dominates over wet and dry deposition processes as a pathway for atmospheric removal of all chemicals except the low-volatility chemical. The remoteness distribution of the low-volatility chemical is strongly dependent on assumptions about degradability on atmospheric aerosols. Calculations that considered seasonal variability in temperature, hydroxyl radical concentrations in the atmosphere and global atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns indicate that variability in hydroxyl radical concentrations largely determines the seasonal variability of remoteness. Concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) measured in tree bark from around the world are more highly correlated with remoteness calculated using our methods than with proximity to human population, and we see considerable potential to apply remoteness calculations for interpretation of monitoring data collected under programs such as the Stockholm Convention Global Monitoring Plan. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.