Polyfluorinated Compounds in the Atmosphere of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans: Evidence for a Global Distribution

In a new publication GKSS scientists detected the worldwide distribution of Polyfluorinated Compounds in the Atmosphere. Besides other applications these anthropogenic chemicals are used as part of impregnation sprays.

Polyfluorinated organic compounds (PFC) are substances that were and are widely used to make industrial and consumer products water, grease, and dirt resistant. However, their thermal and chemical stability resulted in severe environmental problems. This study elaborates the atmospheric transport of these substances on a global scale. Air samples were taken onboard several research vessels from the Arctic to Antarctica and analyzed for PFC. PFC were detected in all air samples, even in Antarctic regions.

Total gas phase concentrations ranged from 4 pg m-3 in the Southern Ocean to 900 pg m-3 in Hamburg. PFC concentration decreased from continental towards marine regions and from Central Europe towards the Arctic and Antarctica. Southern hemispheric concentrations of individual PFC were significantly lower than those of the northern hemisphere. The air mass origin strongly influenced the air contamination level. This study gives further evidence that volatile PFC undergo atmospheric long-range transport to remote regions and may contribute to their contamination.


Spatial distribution of gas-phase 8:2 FTOH Download

Air sampling Download




Annekatrin Dreyer
GKSS Research Centre
Institute for Coastal Research
Max-Planck-Str. 1
21502 Geesthacht

phone: +49-4152-87-2361
fax: +49-4152-87-2361
mai: annekatrin.dreyer[at]