Concentrations and sources of metals in the Antarctic Peninsula aerosol

Aerosol samples were collected at a remote site near the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula during the austral summer of 1984/85. Filter samples were analyzed for Al (as a crustal reference element), marine cations (Na, K, and Ca), heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn), and sulphate using atomic absorption spectrometry, isotope dilution mass spectrometry, neutron activation analysis, and ion chromatography. Ultraclean sample collection and analysis procedures used to avoid sample contamination are described in detail here. Mean concentrations of heavy metals were found to be: Cd, 0.06 pg m−3; Cu, 1.0 pg m−3; Pb, 4.7 pg m−3, and Zn, 6.1 pg m−3. These are the lowest concentrations yet determined in the troposphere, but for Pb and Zn they still indicate a significant enrichment over expected crustal concentrations. For these elements, estimated marine and volcanic contributions cannot account for this excess and suggest pollution as the dominant source even at this remote location. For Cd and Cu a dominant anthropogenic source cannot be ruled out, although current estimates of crustal, marine, and volcanic emissions could account for levels determined.


Publication status:
Authors: Dick, Alan L.

1 July, 1991
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta / 55
Link to published article: