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Temporal Variations in Radionuclide Activities (7Be and 210Pb) in Surface Aerosols at a Coastal Site in Southeastern China

Category: Aerosol and Atmospheric Chemistry

Accepted Manuscripts
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.02.0084
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Dekun Huang 1, Hongyan Bao2, Tao Yu1

  • 1 Laboratory of Marine Isotopic Technology and Environmental Risk Assessment, Third Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resource, Xiamen 361005, China
  • 2 State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361102, China


  • 210Pb activity in Xiamen was high in the reported regions.
  • The overall 7Be activity was related to latitude.
  • Temporal variations in 7Be and 210Pb were both related to temperature in 2013–2015.
  • 210Pb activity was significantly correlated with PM2.5.


7Be and 210Pb are frequently used as tracers in atmospheric studies. However, long-term monitoring of radionuclides in aerosols via high temporal resolution studies remains limited, especially in Asia. Therefore, more monitoring is necessary to understand the factors influencing the temporal variations in the atmospheric deposition of radionuclides. Here, we measured 7Be and 210Pb activities in surface aerosols collected on a weekly basis in a coastal city (Xiamen) in southeastern China during 2013 - 2015 (110 samples in total). 7Be and 210Pb ranged from 0.17 to 9.84 mBq m-3 (mean: 4.37 ± 2.65 mBq m-3) and from 0.17 to 3.31 mBq m-3 (mean: 1.26 ± 0.78 mBq m-3), respectively. Compared to reports in other regions, the average 210Pb activity was high, which may be related to the high 226Ra activity in the soil in southeastern China. The annual mean 7Be activity was significantly correlated with latitude in the coastal region. Despite different origins, the weekly 7Be and 210Pb activities were significantly correlated (r = 0.679, p < 0.001, n = 110) and showed similar temporal variations, with higher values during the low-temperature dry season. Temporal variations in 7Be and 210Pb were both negatively affected by temperature and precipitation and positively related to the fine particle concentration (PM2.5). The effective dose of the two radionuclides (7Be and 210Pb) is approximately 5.7% of the effective dose limit for humans; thus, natural radioactivity should be considered for human health, especially in regions with high PM2.5 concentrations.


7Be 210Pb Aerosol Coastal city Environmental radioactivity

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