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Effects of seasonal climatic variability on several toxic contaminants in urban lakes: Implications for the impacts of climate change

Wu, Qiong, Xia, Xinghui, Mou, Xinli, Zhu, Baotong, Zhao, Pujun, Dong, Haiyang
Journal of Environmental Sciences 2014 v.26 pp. 2369-2378
arsenic, biodegradation, climate change, climatic factors, cluster analysis, ecosystems, fluorides, lakes, multivariate analysis, nonpoint source pollution, phenols, principal component analysis, rain, regression analysis, seasonal variation, selenium, soil, solar radiation, temperature, toxicity, volatilization, water quality, wind speed, China
Climate change is supposed to have influences on water quality and ecosystem. However, only few studies have assessed the effect of climate change on environmental toxic contaminants in urban lakes. In this research, response of several toxic contaminants in twelve urban lakes in Beijing, China, to the seasonal variations in climatic factors was studied. Fluorides, volatile phenols, arsenic, selenium, and other water quality parameters were analyzed monthly from 2009 to 2012. Multivariate statistical methods including principle component analysis, cluster analysis, and multiple regression analysis were performed to study the relationship between contaminants and climatic factors including temperature, precipitation, wind speed, and sunshine duration. Fluoride and arsenic concentrations in most urban lakes exhibited a significant positive correlation with temperature/precipitation, which is mainly caused by rainfall induced diffuse pollution. A negative correlation was observed between volatile phenols and temperature/precipitation, and this could be explained by their enhanced volatilization and biodegradation rates caused by higher temperature. Selenium did not show a significant response to climatic factor variations, which was attributed to low selenium contents in the lakes and soils. Moreover, the response degrees of contaminants to climatic variations differ among lakes with different contamination levels. On average, temperature/precipitation contributed to 8%, 15%, and 12% of the variations in volatile phenols, arsenic, and fluorides, respectively. Beijing is undergoing increased temperature and heavy rainfall frequency during the past five decades. This study suggests that water quality related to fluoride and arsenic concentrations of most urban lakes in Beijing is becoming worse under this climate change trend.