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Volume 18, issue 15
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 11031-11040, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-11031-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 11031-11040, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-11031-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 07 Aug 2018

Research article | 07 Aug 2018

Revolatilisation of soil-accumulated pollutants triggered by the summer monsoon in India

Gerhard Lammel1,2, Céline Degrendele2, Sachin S. Gunthe3, Qing Mu1, Akila Muthalagu3, Ondřej Audy2, Chelackal V. Biju4, Petr Kukučka2, Marie D. Mulder2, Mega Octaviani1, Petra Příbylová2, Pourya Shahpoury1, Irene Stemmler5, and Aswathy E. Valsan3 Gerhard Lammel et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Multiphase Chemistry Department, Hahn-Meitner-Weg 1, 55128 Mainz, Germany
  • 2Masaryk University, Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment, Kamenice 5, 62500 Brno, Czech Republic
  • 3Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Division, Chennai 600036, India
  • 4College of Engineering Munnar, Department of Civil Engineering, P. B. No. 45, County Hills, Munnar 685612, India
  • 5Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Ocean in the Earth System Department, Bundesstr. 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. Persistent organic pollutants that have accumulated in soils can be remobilised by volatilisation in response to chemical equilibrium with the atmosphere. Clean air masses from the Indian Ocean, advected with the onset of the summer monsoon, are found to reduce concentrations of hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its derivatives, endosulfan and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in air at a mountain site (all in the range 5–20pgm−3) by 77%, 70%, 82% and 45%, respectively. The analysis of fugacities in soil and air suggest that the arrival of summer monsoon triggers net volatilisation or enhances ongoing revolatilisation of the now-banned chemicals HCH and PCBs from background soils in southern India. The response of the air–soil exchange was modelled using a regional air pollution model, WRF-Chem PAH/POP. The results suggest that the air is increasingly polluted during transport by the south-westerly monsoon winds across the subcontinent. Using a multidecadal multimedia mass balance model, it is found that air–surface exchange of HCH and DDT have declined since the ban of these substances from agriculture, but remobilisation of higher chlorinated PCBs may have reached a historical high, 40 years after peak emission.

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Persistent organic pollutants that have accumulated in soils over decades can be remobilised by volatilisation. Clean air masses advected with the onset of the summer monsoon to India enhance revolatilisation of chemicals which have been banned for decades. During propagation of the monsoon northward across the subcontinent, the air is increasingly polluted by these secondary emissions. Remobilisation of some PCBs may even have reached a historical high, 40 years after peak emission.
Persistent organic pollutants that have accumulated in soils over decades can be remobilised by...
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