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The sedimentary record of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Yamzho Yumco Lake: evolution of local sources and adsorption dynamic in the Tibetan Plateau

Wang, Qi, Li, Jun, Duan, Xu-Chuan, Yuan, Guo-Li, Fang, Bin, Wang, An-Ting
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.18 pp. 18674-18686
adsorption, anthropogenic activities, biomass, burning, coal, combustion, emissions, lakes, molecular weight, petroleum, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, principal component analysis, regression analysis, sediments, total organic carbon, China
With the rapid increase in anthropogenic activities, the local emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in background regions, such as the Tibetan Plateau (TP), have attracted great attention. The deposition of PAHs in lake sediments provides a historical evolutionary record of such compounds in these regions. To investigate the evolution of PAHs in the TP, two sedimentary cores from Yamzho Yumco Lake were collected and dated at high resolution, and the concentrations of 16 PAHs and sediment properties were also analyzed. The total concentrations of the 16 PAHs ranged from 6.52 to 57.97 ng/g (dry weight) in YC1 and from 0.91 to 4.57 ng/g (dry weight) in YC2. According to the methods of principal component analysis (PCA) followed by multilinear regression analysis (MLRA), four sources of PAHs in the sediments were qualitatively and quantitatively identified, such as petroleum combustion, petrogenic, coal combustion, and biomass burning. Thus, the historical evolution of PAHs was summarized. In addition, the transported distance from local PAH emission sources was found to greatly affect the composition and concentration of PAHs in sites YC1 and YC2. Specifically, local sources contributed a greater proportion of heavy molecular weight (HMW) PAHs in YC1 and a higher proportion of light-molecular-weight (LMW) PAHs in YC2. Moreover, fine particles (size < 20 μm) were found to play a significant role in adsorbing PAHs in sediments. Furthermore, ∑₁₆PAHs in sediments were linearly correlated with the percentage of fine particles (size < 20 μm). This study provides a first example to investigate the historical evolution of PAH local emission in background regions by using lake sedimentary records, especially in the TP. Specifically, different local sources were identified using the methods of PCA followed by MLRA, and PAHs in TP sediments were predominantly adsorbed by fine particles rather than by total organic carbon (TOC) because the amount of TOC was limited.