EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Persistent organic pollutants distribution of small coastal catchments at the Canadian Beaufort coast.

Rachele Lodi1,6, Julia Wagner2,3, Gustaf Hugelius2,3, Victoria Sophie Martin4, Niek Speetjens5, Andreas Richter4, Jacopo Gabrieli1, and Carlo Barbate1,6
Rachele Lodi et al.
  • 1National Research Council, Institute of Polar Science (ISP-CNR), 30172 Venezia Mestre, Italy (
  • 2Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 4Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science, Div. of Terrestrial Ecosystem Research, University of Vienna, 1010 Wien, Austria
  • 5Department of Earth Science, Earth and Climate Cluster, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 6Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, University Ca’ Foscari of Venice, 30172 Venezia Mestre, Italy

Recent decades have shown phases of very rapid warming in the Canadian Arctic. This raises a concern, also in reference to potential changes in permafrost active layer deepening, enhancing the fact that seawater, snow and soils are becoming important secondary sources remobilizing persistent organic pollutants (POPs). This work investigates the potential influence of permafrost on POPs distribution in the soils of two small coastal catchments at the Canadian Beaufort coast. One catchment is located south of Herschel Island on the mainland and was covered by the Laurentide ice sheet during the last glacial maximum (LGM), the second catchment is located westerly at Komakuk Beach and was ice-free during the LGM.

Soils were sampled by horizon in the Active Layer from an open soil pit and by coring into the permafrost, near the top of the permafrost table and at 90 cm depth from the soil surface (99 samples form Ptarmigan Bay and 89 from Komakuk Beach). The total sampling depth was 1,0 m (including Active Layer and Permafrost). A random distribution of the points over the areas guaranteed the sampling over different Landforms, aiming to understand the contaminant concentration and distribution. Quantification of PAHs, PCBs, HCB was performed using GC-MS technique, a 7890A gas chromatographer coupled with a 5975C MSD System, Agilent Technologies, at CNR-ISP Venice, Italy.

Preliminary results confirm that the mechanism responsible for the transport of POPs into the soil are believed to be gravity drainage and capillary suction into fissures and cracks. An accumulation of PAHs has been detected in the permafrost transient layer. It is probably related, as demonstrate in literature, to the accumulation and transport of soil organic carbon influence, as well as the changing in hydraulic barriers. The role of cryoturbation in the vertical transport and accumulation of POPs is also considered and discussed.

The study has been conducted thanks to Grant Agreement number: 773421 — Nunataryuk — H2020-BG-2016-2017/H2020-BG-2017-1 ‘Permafrost thaw and the changing arctic coast: science for socio-economic adaptation — Nunataryuk’

How to cite: Lodi, R., Wagner, J., Hugelius, G., Martin, V. S., Speetjens, N., Richter, A., Gabrieli, J., and Barbate, C.: Persistent organic pollutants distribution of small coastal catchments at the Canadian Beaufort coast., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10165,, 2021.


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