Exchange of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons across the air-water interface in the Bohai and Yellow Seas


In this study, air and surface seawater samples collected from the Bohai (BS) and Yellow Seas (YS) in May 2012 were determined exchange of PAHs, especially of low-molecular-weight (LMW) PAHs (three- and four-ring PAHs) at the air-water interface. Net volatilization fluxes of LMW PAHs were 266–1454 ng/m2/d and decreased with distance from the coast, indicating that these PAHs transported from coastal runoff were potential contributors to the atmosphere in the BS and YS. Moreover, LMW PAHs were enriched in the dissolved phase compared with those in the particulate phase in the water column, possibly suggesting that the volatilized LMW PAHs were directly derived from wastewater discharge or petroleum pollution rather than released from contaminated sediments. The air–sea exchange fluxes of the three-ring PAHs were 2- to 20-fold higher than their atmospheric deposition fluxes in the BS and YS. The input to and output from the water reached equilibrium for four-ring PAHs. Differently, five- and six-ring PAHs were introduced into the marine environment primarily through dry and wet deposition, indicating that the water column was still a sink of these PAHs from the surrounding atmosphere.
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