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Geophysical Research Letters

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Abstract/ Summary

A high-resolution, 8000 year-long ice core record from the Mt. Logan summit plateau (5300 m asl) reveals the initiation of trans-Pacific lead (Pb) pollution by ca. 1730, and a >10-fold increase in Pb concentration (1981–1998 mean = 68.9 ng/l) above natural background (5.6 ng/l) attributed to rising anthropogenic Pb emissions from Asia. The largest rise in North Pacific Pb pollution from 1970–1998 (end of record) is contemporaneous with a decrease in Eurasian and North American Pb pollution as documented in ice core records from Greenland, Devon Island, and the European Alps. The distinct Pb pollution history in the North Pacific is interpreted to result from the later industrialization and less stringent abatement measures in Asia compared to North America and Eurasia. The Mt. Logan record shows evidence for both a rising Pb emissions signal from Asia and a trans-Pacific transport efficiency signal related to the strength of the Aleutian Low.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Osterberg, E., et al. (2008), Ice core record of rising lead pollution in the North Pacific atmosphere, Geophysical Research Letters, 35, L05810, doi:10.1029/2007GL032680.

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