Projekt

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Accelerated release of persistent organic pollutants from Alpine glaciers

Titel Englisch Accelerated release of persistent organic pollutants from Alpine glaciers
Gesuchsteller/in Hungerbühler Konrad
Nummer 130083
Förderungsinstrument Projektförderung (Abt. I-III)
Forschungseinrichtung Institut für Chemie- und Bioingenieurwissenschaften ETH Zürich
Hochschule ETH Zürich - ETHZ
Hauptdisziplin Hydrologie, Limnologie, Glaziologie
Beginn/Ende 01.09.2010 - 31.08.2013
Bewilligter Betrag 382'896.00
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Alle Disziplinen (2)

Disziplin
Hydrologie, Limnologie, Glaziologie
Andere Gebiete der Umweltwissenschaften

Keywords (19)

ice flow modeling; temperate glaciers; persistent organic pollutants; multimedia model; ice core; secondary source; lake sediments; transport processes; glacier; glaciology; climate change; environmental chemistry; environmental fate; persistent organic polluntants; modeling; sedimentology; mountains; Alps; ice

Lay Summary (Englisch)

Lead
Lay summary
LeadMelting Alpine glaciers represent a secondary source of persistent organic pollutants. In this interdisciplinary project, including the fields of glaciology, analytical chemistry, sedimentology, and environmental fate modeling, processes affecting these hazardous chemicals in temperate glaciers are investigated.BackgroundRecent studies revealed that melting Alpine glaciers represent a secondary source of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), that were previously deposited to and incorporated into glaciers are now released back to the environment due to the rapid melting induced by climate warming. POPs represent environmental contaminants of particular concern because they are recalcitrant to degradation, accumulate in human and animal tissue, undergo long-range atmospheric transport, and can seriously threaten human health. Many complex processes occurring in glaciers, such as transport and transformation fluxes of chemicals, are largely unknown and represent great challenges, particularly for temperate Alpine glaciers containing appreciable amounts of liquid water within the glacier body. The water content of temperate Alpine glaciers in itself is poorly known and even less information exists about the flow rate of percolating meltwater. For chemicals that distribute among different environmental compartments, such as POPs, the transport mechanisms within temperate glaciers are particularly complex. GoalsThe fate of POPs in temperate glaciers, including deposition on, incorporation into, transport within, and release from ice, is investigated based on field experiments, laboratory analyses and computer modeling. The goal consists in understanding these environmental processes to quantify the flow of water and chemicals within glaciers. This interdisciplinary project is carried out by a unique consortium of glaciologists, chemists, and geologists from ETH Zurich, PSI, EMPA, and EAWAG.RelevanceThe alliance of research groups that are well experienced in complementary scientific disciplines represents a major opportunity of this interdisciplinary project. The developed models enable to estimate the amount of pollutants still stored in Alpine glaciers and the load released at present and in the future. Regarding the negative experience in the past with harmful effects from hazardous POPs in the environment, a re-emergence of such pollutants stored in remaining glaciers calls for serious investigations. Further, in the field of glaciology this project is of high importance for the fundamental understanding of water content and transport within temperate glacier ice.
Direktlink auf Lay Summary Letzte Aktualisierung: 21.02.2013

Verantw. Gesuchsteller/in und weitere Gesuchstellende

Mitarbeitende

Publikationen

Publikation
A Temperate Alpine Glacier as a Reservoir of Polychlorinated Biphenyls: Model Results of Incorporation, Transport, and Release
Steinlin Christine, Bogdal Christian, Luethi Martin, Pavlova Pavlina, Schwikowski Margit, Zennegg Markus, Schmid Peter, Scheringer Martin, Hungerbühler Konrad (2016), A Temperate Alpine Glacier as a Reservoir of Polychlorinated Biphenyls: Model Results of Incorporation, Transport, and Release, in Environmental Science & Technology, 50, 5572-5579.
Bulk meltwater flow and liquid water content of snowpacks mapped using the electrical self-potential (SP) method
Thompson Sarah, Kulessa Bernd, Essery Richard, Luethi Martin (2016), Bulk meltwater flow and liquid water content of snowpacks mapped using the electrical self-potential (SP) method, in The Cryosphere, 10, 433-444.
Release of PCBs from Silvretta glacier (Switzerland) investigated in lake sediments and meltwater
Pavlova Pavlina, Zennegg Markus, Anselmetti Flavio, Schmid Peter, Bogdal Christian, Steinlin Christine, Jäggi Maya, Schwikowski Margit (2016), Release of PCBs from Silvretta glacier (Switzerland) investigated in lake sediments and meltwater, in Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 23, 10308-10316.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls in a Temperate Alpine Glacier: 1. Effect of Percolating Meltwater on their Distribution in Glacier Ice
Pavlova Pavlina, Jenk Theo, Schmid Peter, Bogdal Christian, Steinlin Christine, Schwikowski Margit (2015), Polychlorinated Biphenyls in a Temperate Alpine Glacier: 1. Effect of Percolating Meltwater on their Distribution in Glacier Ice, in Environmental Science & Technology, 49, 14085-14091.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls in a Temperate Alpine Glacier: 2. Model Results of Chemical Fate Processes
Steinlin Christine, Bogdal Christian, Pavlova Pavlina, Schwikowski Margit, Luethi Martin, Scheringer Martin, Schmid Peter, Hungerbühler Konrad (2015), Polychlorinated Biphenyls in a Temperate Alpine Glacier: 2. Model Results of Chemical Fate Processes, in Environmental Science & Technology, 49, 14092-14100.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Glaciers. 1. Deposition History from an Alpine Ice Core
Pavlova Pavlina, Schmid Peter, Bogdal Christian, Steinlin Christine, Jenk Theo, Schwikowski Margit (2014), Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Glaciers. 1. Deposition History from an Alpine Ice Core, in Environmental Science & Technology, 48, 7842-7848.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Glaciers. 2. Model Results of Deposition and Incorporation Processes
Steinlin Christine, Bogdal Christian, Scheringer Martin, Pavlova Pavlina, Schwikowski Margit, Schmid Peter, Hungerbühler Konrad (2014), Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Glaciers. 2. Model Results of Deposition and Incorporation Processes, in Environmental Science & Technology, 48, 7849-7857.
Trace analysis of hydrophobic micropollutants in aqueous samples using capillary traps
Pavlova PAvlina, Schmid Peter, Zennegg Markus, Bogdal Christian, Schwikowski Margit (2014), Trace analysis of hydrophobic micropollutants in aqueous samples using capillary traps, in Chemosphere, 106, 51-56.
The role of the global cryosphere in the fate of organic contaminants
Grannas Amanda, Bogdal Christian, Hageman Kimberly, Halsall Crispin, Harner Tom, Hung Hayley, Kallenborn Roland, Klan Petr, Klanova Jana, Macdonald Robie, Meyer Torsten, Wania Frank (2013), The role of the global cryosphere in the fate of organic contaminants, in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 13, 3271-3305.
Modeling incorporation and post-depositional processes of PCB in Alpine glaciers
Steinlin Christine, Bogdal Christian, Scheringer Martin, Pavlova Pavlina, Schwikowski Margit, Schmid Peter, Hungerbühler Konrad, Modeling incorporation and post-depositional processes of PCB in Alpine glaciers, in Organohalogen Compounds, 75, ?.
POPs – A haunting legacy
Schmid Peter, Bogdal Christian, Blüthgen Nancy, Anselmetti F.S., POPs – A haunting legacy, in Chimia.

Kommunikation mit der Öffentlichkeit

Kommunikation Titel Medien Ort Jahr

Auszeichnungen

Titel Jahr
Christine Steinlin hat an der Dioxin 2013 Konferenz (33rd International Symposium on Halogenated Persistent Organic Pollutants and POPs, Daegu, Republic of Korea) die Auszeichnung für den besten wissenschaftlichen Vortrag erhalten. 2013

Verbundene Projekte

Nummer Titel Start Förderungsinstrument
125304 Glaciation history and environmental evolution of overdeepened valleys in the northern Alpine Foreland: A deep drill hole at the mammoth site in Niederweningen, northern Switzerland 01.04.2009 Projektförderung (Abt. I-III)
149835 Accelerated release of persistent organic pollutants from Alpine glaciers 01.10.2013 Projektförderung (Abt. I-III)
110084 NCCR Climate: Climate variability, predictability and climate risks (phase II) 01.04.2005 Nationale Forschungsschwerpunkte (NFS)
119781 The impact of proglacial lakes on the retreat of mountain glaciers: Rhonegletscher, Switzerland 01.01.2009 Projektförderung (Abt. I-III)

Abstract

As a consequence of global warming, which is acknowledged as a major scientific and societal issue today, rapid melting of glaciers has already been observed worldwide and is expected to amplify in the near future. Recently, we have shown that melting Alpine glaciers represent an important secondary source of legacy pollutants that were previously deposited to and incorporated into glaciers and are now released at historically high rates to the environment due to the rapid melting of glaciers. In a series of preliminary studies we could confirm this “glacier hypothesis” for several persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), as well as dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane (DDT). Theses compounds are particularly hazardous environmental contaminants distinguished by their persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic properties. Next to the confirmation of the “glacier hypothesis”, our previous studies highlighted the complexity of the underlying processes, particularly for Alpine glaciers and for the target pollutants. Firstly, most Alpine glaciers are temperate glaciers, embodying percolating meltwater next to the solid ice matrix, which significantly complicates the transport of chemical species within glaciers. Secondly, POPs have the extraordinary ability to partition between liquid percolating meltwater and solid glacial microparticles, which adds a further dimension to the transport processes within glaciers.In this project we propose to investigate the complete chain of processes affecting POPs in temperate Alpine glaciers, including their deposition, incorporation, possible transformation, transport, and release. To meet this objective, the project will include three closely linked work packages, representing each the topic of a doctoral thesis. In the first package, we will perform field measurements as well as tracer diffusion experiments to examine the distribution and temporal variation of percolating meltwater within temperate glaciers. These data will serve to develop a transient flow line model of temperate glaciers, including the percolation of meltwater as well as the motion of solid ice. In the second work package, we will establish a comprehensive inventory of chemical species in glaciers and proglacial lakes. To assess the initial incorporation of the target POPs into Alpine glaciers, a dated ice core from a cold glacier not affected by percolating meltwater will be analyzed. To examine the redistribution of POPs with percolating meltwater, we will analyze isotope tracers for water, tracers for solid glacial microparticles, and the target POPs in ice cores from temperate accumulation and ablation areas, in surface ice samples, and in glacier meltwater. Additionally, to establish the history of POPs release by temperate Alpine glaciers, we will analyze annually-layered sediment cores from proglacial lakes. Finally, the third work package will provide the complete picture of the transport chain of POPs in temperate glaciers. A dynamic multicompartmental model will be developed for ecosystems of temperate glaciers to examine the fate of POPs. All the findings from the two previous work packages, including the characterization of the percolation of meltwater and flow of ice in temperate glaciers, as well as the description of the transport mechanisms affecting POPs within glaciers, will be integrated in this multimedia fate model.For this interdisciplinary project, a research consortium of research groups in the fields of glaciology, analytical chemistry, sedimentology, as well as environmental fate modeling is formed. The close collaboration between highly experienced experts in their respective disciplines is a distinctive constellation and represents one of the major chances of this project. The characterization of the processes affecting chemical species within temperate Alpine glaciers is a unique research issue that has, so far, never been considered in such an explicitly designed approach as we suggest here and would largely contribute to an improved understanding of the fate of chemicals in the environment. Finally, the hazardous nature of the considered POPs and the dramatic receding of glaciers worldwide, suggest the relevance of this project, particularly for countries largely relying on glacial resources, such as Switzerland.
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