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Polyfluorinated compounds in ambient air from ship- and land-based measurements in northern Germany

For more than 50 years polylfuorinated organic compounds (PFC) are applied to make industrial and consumer products water, grease, and dirt resistant. However, their thermal and chemical stability resulted in serious environmental problems. PFC are now distributed all over the world and the atmosphere is assumed to be an important transport mechanism. In order to assess the PFC air contamination in the Hamburg region and the German North Sea, air samples were taken at the GKSS Research Centre, at an environmental monitoring site of the environmental Agency Itzehoe close to Barsbüttel, and in close cooperation with the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany (BSH) at the reseach vessel Atair. The analysis of these samples revealed that air sampled at land-based sites was on average twice as high contaminated as air sampled in the North Sea. It turned out that the air mass origin and thus medium to long range atmospheric transport was the governing parameter for the amount of PFC in ambient air. Southwesterly located source regions seemed to be responsible for elevated PFC concentrations.

An new article about this theme has been published in:
Atmospheric Environment; Vol. 43; p1527-1535; Mar 2009
"Polyfluorinated compounds in ambient air from ship- and land-based measurements in northern Germany"
Authors: Dreyer A.; Ebinghaus R.

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Air sampling at RV atair. Download

The air mass origin was a key parameter that influenced the PFC air contamination. Whenever air masses were arriving from south-westerly directions (a) elevated PFC concentrations were observed. In contrast, air masses arriving from northern regions (b) were less contaminated. Download

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