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Effects of input uncertainty and variability on the modelled environmental fate of organic pollutants under global climate change scenarios
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
2013 (English)In: Chemosphere, ISSN 0045-6535, E-ISSN 1879-1298, Vol. 93, no 9, 2086-2093 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Global climate change (GCC) is expected to influence the fate, exposure and risks of organic pollutants to wildlife and humans. Multimedia chemical fate models have been previously applied to estimate how GCC affects pollutant concentrations in the environment and biota, but previous studies have not addressed how uncertainty and variability of model inputs affect model predictions. Here, we assess the influence of climate variability and chemical property uncertainty on future projections of environmental fate of six polychlorinated biphenyl congeners under different GCC scenarios using a spreadsheet version of the ChemCAN model and the Crystal Ball® software. Regardless of emission mode, results demonstrate: (i) uncertainty in degradation half-lives dominates the variance of modelled absolute levels of PCB congeners under GCC scenarios; (ii) when the ratios of predictions under GCC to predictions under present day climate are modelled, climate variability dominates the variance of modelled ratios; and (iii) the ratios also indicate a maximum of about a factor of 2 change in the long-term average environmental concentrations due to GCC that is forecasted between present conditions and the period between 2080 and 2099. We conclude that chemical property uncertainty does not preclude assessing relative changes in a GCC scenario compared to a present-day scenario if variance in model outputs due to chemical properties and degradation half-lives can be assumed to cancel out in the two scenarios.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 93, no 9, 2086-2093 p.
Keyword [en]
Climate change, climate variability, chemical property uncertainty, multimedia fate model
National Category
Environmental Sciences Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95006DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.07.049ISI: 000327109300056OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-95006DiVA: diva2:660991
Funder
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 226534
Available from: 2013-10-31 Created: 2013-10-21 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Confronting new challenges in chemical assessment: emerging contaminants and climate change
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Confronting new challenges in chemical assessment: emerging contaminants and climate change
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Both chemical-specific (e.g. physical-chemical properties) and environmental (e.g. climate) properties are required for model-based chemical exposure assessment. The physical-chemical property data for large numbers of “emerging chemicals” of concern are scarce and uncertain and their unusual structures and behaviour hinder the creation of hazard profiles. Climate change (CC) is expected to alter the transport and fate of chemicals in the environment, so from a long-term perspective it must be accounted for in chemical risk assessment. This thesis tackles the challenges (i) in developing hazard profiles for halogen-free flame retardants (HFFRs), which are emerging chemicals that are often ionogenic and can contain metallic and organic components in the same chemical structure, and (ii) in quantifying the effects of CC on the transport and fate of organic chemicals with a wide range of physical-chemical properties. The findings in Paper I suggest that the hazard profiles of HFFRs can be constructed, though they may be incomplete and associated with uncertainty as a result of data gaps and difficulties in developing models to describe their unique environmental chemistry. Paper II shows that the large uncertainties in physical-chemical properties dominate the variance in future forecasts of chemical concentrations and are far more important than variations in climate parameters due to CC. Paper III derives the CC/baseline scenario ratios of chemical concentrations, which vary widely with physical-chemical properties. Concentrations in the Baltic region are projected to change by factors of up to 3.0. Paper IV identifies significantly decreasing trends in measured atmospheric concentrations of many persistent organic pollutants, implying effectiveness of control actions. There is no evidence that CC has altered the temporal trends in long-term time series of chemicals based on the statistical analyses of the monitoring data.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM), Stockholm Univeristy, 2013. 30 p.
Keyword
emerging chemicals, climate change, fate, multimedia model, risk assessment, physical-chemical property, uncertainty, Arctic, Baltic, time series, persistent organic pollutants, temporal trend
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Applied Environmental Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95684 (URN)978-91-7447-801-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-12-13, Nordenskiöldssalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defence the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript; Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-11-21 Created: 2013-11-02 Last updated: 2013-11-14Bibliographically approved

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