Organochlorine pesticides have been found in Arctic fish, marine mammals, birds, and plankton for some time. The lack of local sources and remoteness of the region imply long-range transport and deposition of contaminants into the Arctic from sources to the south. While on the third Soviet-American Joint Ecological Expedition to the Bering and Chukchi Seas (August 1988), high-volume air samples were taken and analyzed for organochlorine pesticides. Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), hexachlorobenzene, polychlorinated camphenes, and chlordane (listed in order of abundance, highest to lowest) were quantified. The air-sea gas exchange of HCH was estimated at 18 stations during the cruise. Average alpha-HCH concentrations in concurrent atmosphere and surface water samples were 250 pg m-3 and 2.4 ng L-1, respectively, and average gamma-HCH concentrations were 68 pg m-3 in the atmosphere and 0.6 ng L-1 in surface water. Calculations based on experimentally derived Henry's law constants showed that the surface water was undersaturated with respect to the atmosphere at most stations (alpha-HCH, average 79% saturation; gamma-HCH, average 28% saturation). The flux for alpha-HCH ranged from -47 ng m-2 day-1 (sea to air) to 122 ng m-2 d-1 (air to sea) and averaged 25 ng m-2 d-1 air to sea. All fluxes of gamma-HCH were from air to sea, ranged from 17 to 54 ng m-2 d-1, and averaged 31 ng m-2 d-1.
Additional publication details
Atmospheric organochlorine pollutants and air-sea exchange of hexachlorocyclohexane in the Bering and Chukchi Seas