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Atmospherically deposited major and trace elements in the winter snowpack along a gradient of altitude in the Central Pyrenees: The seasonal record of long-range fluxes over SW Europe

AuthorsBacardit, Montserrat ; Camarero, Lluís
KeywordsHigh mountain
Major and traceelements
Long-range pollution
Issue Date2010
CitationAtmospheric Environment 44(4) : 582-595 (2010)
AbstractThe chemistry of high mountain snowpacks is a result of the long-range atmospheric transport and deposition of elements. Pyrenean snowpacks contain information about the fluxes of elementsoverSWEurope in winter. Here we analysed Al, Ti, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Cd and Pb in the 2004–05 wintersnowpack in the Central Pyrenees, at an altituderange of 1820–3200 m a.s.l. Ni, As, Se and Cd were not detected in most cases. The concentrations of the remaining elements were comparable to those found in other high mountain areas in Europe and North America considered representative of regional background of atmospheric deposition in populated areas. In contrast, our measurements were higher than those of polar areas, which represent the global background. Single measurements of concentrations and snow accumulation were subject to considerable spatial variability, which may be attributable to strong wind drift and other post-depositional processes. The major ions chemistry of the snow indicated three possible origins for the solutes: terrigenous dust, sea salt spray and polluting S and N aerosols. We found no association between Cu, Zn and Pb and any of these possible sources. This observation therefore indicates that these elements were not preferentially bound to any particular kind of aerosol. Snow collected at altitudes of up to 2050 m a.s.l. presented higher concentrations of several elements than snow above this altitude, thereby indicating a local influence. Snow collected above 2300 m a.s.l. was therefore more representative of broad regional inputs. At these higher altitudes, snow was not enriched in Al, Ti, Mn, Fe or As compared with the composition of the upper continental crust and the local lithology, and these elements (except Mn) appeared almost exclusively in the particulate fraction. This observation indicates that Al, Ti, Mn, Fe and As were present mainly as part of dust particles of terrigenous origin. In contrast, Cu, Zn, and Pb presented medium to high enrichment factors and showed a higher proportion of soluble forms, thereby indicating their polluting character.
Description14 páginas, 5 tablas, 6 figuras, 2 apéndices.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.06.022
Appears in Collections:(CEAB) Artículos
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