Pathways of PFOA to the Arctic: variabilities and contributions of oceanic currents and atmospheric transport and chemistry sources 1Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
2Masaryk University, Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment, Brno, Czech Republic
Received: 14 March 2010 – Published in Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.: 03 May 2010 Abstract. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and other perfluorinated compounds are
industrial chemicals in use for decades which resist degradation in the
environment and seem to accumulate in polar regions. Transport of PFOA was
modeled using a spatially resolved global multicompartment model including
fully coupled three-dimensional ocean and atmosphere general circulation
models, and two-dimensional top soil, vegetation surfaces, and sea ice
compartments. In addition to primary emissions, the formation of PFOA in the
atmosphere from degradation of 8:2 fluorotelomer alcohol was included as a
PFOA source. Oceanic transport, delivered 14.8±5.0 (8–23) t a−1 to
the Arctic, strongly influenced by changes in water
transport, which determined its interannual variability. This pathway
constituted the dominant source of PFOA to the Arctic. Formation of PFOA in
the atmosphere led to episodic transport events (timescale of days) into the
Arctic with small spatial extent. Deposition in the polar region was found to
be dominated by wet deposition over land, and shows maxima in boreal winter.
The total atmospheric deposition of PFOA in the Arctic in the 1990s was
≈1 t a−1, much higher than previously estimated, and is
dominated by primary emissions rather than secondary formation.
Revised: 30 August 2010 – Accepted: 30 September 2010 – Published: 20 October 2010
Citation: Stemmler, I. and Lammel, G.: Pathways of PFOA to the Arctic: variabilities and contributions of oceanic currents and atmospheric transport and chemistry sources, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 9965-9980, doi:10.5194/acp-10-9965-2010, 2010.