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Ambient Air Levels of Organochlorine Pesticides at Three High Alpine Monitoring Stations: Trends and Dependencies on Geographical Origin

Category: Aerosol and Trace Gas Climatology

Volume: 16 | Issue: 3 | Pages: 738-751
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.04.0213

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Manfred Kirchner 1, Gert Jakobi1, Wolfgang KoĢˆrner2, Walkiria Levy3, Wolfgang Moche4, Bernhard Niedermoser5, Marcus Schaub6, Ludwig Ries7, Peter Weiss4, Felix Antritter3, Norbert Fischer3, Bernhard Henkelmann3, Karl-Werner Schramm3

  • 1 Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, CMA, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, D-85764 Neuherberg, Germany
  • 2 Bavarian Environment Agency, Bürgermeister-Ulrich-Straße 160, D-86179 Augsburg, Germany
  • 3 Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, MEX, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, D-85764 Neuherberg, Germany
  • 4 Umweltbundesamt GmbH Wien, Spittelauer Lände 5, A-1090 Wien, Austria
  • 5 Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Freisaalweg 16, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria
  • 6 Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 7 Platform Zugspitze of GAW Globalstation Zugspitze/Hohenpeissenberg, Federal Environment Agency, Zugspitze 5, Schneefernerhaus, D-82475 Zugspitze, Germany


This paper reports the time series of OCP air concentrations in the Alps.
Only a few compounds exhibited a significant negative trend during 2005–2013.
OCPs are transported mainly from the south and northeast.
Concentration levels differ between Northern and Central Alps.


Many persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), which are emitted into air, occur ubiquitously in different environmental compartments worldwide. OCPs are measurable in conspicuous concentrations in the air not only near emission regions but also in background areas, as in the Alps. In the present study, we analyzed OCPs in air samples between 2005 and 2013 at three high Alpine stations (Weißfluhjoch, Switzerland: 2663 m a.s.l.; Sonnblick, Austria: 3106 m a.s.l.; and Schneefernerhaus, Germany: 2650 m a.s.l.). The air concentrations of OCPs at these stations were lower than those in source regions but higher than those in the Arctic region. Concentration differences between sites were found to be relatively small. To distinguish the influences from different European source regions, four filters of low-volume active air samplers were operated alternately according to a trajectory prediction method. Air masses from the northeast (i.e., Bavaria and Eastern Central Europe) and the south (i.e., Mediterranean countries) were characterized by higher concentrations of OCPs (e.g., pentachlorobenzene and hexachlorobenzene) compared with those arriving from the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, we evaluated the temporal trend of the single compounds; only a few compounds such as endosulfan exhibited a clear decreasing trend.


Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) Active air sampling Alps Trajectories Atmospheric transport Trend

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