Articles | Volume 10, issue 5
The Cryosphere, 10, 2533–2539, 2016
The Cryosphere, 10, 2533–2539, 2016

Brief communication 26 Oct 2016

Brief communication | 26 Oct 2016

Brief communication: Organochlorine pesticides in an archived firn core from Law Dome, East Antarctica

Marie Bigot1, Mark A. J. Curran2,3, Andrew D. Moy2,3, Derek C. G. Muir4, Darryl W. Hawker5, Roger Cropp5, Camilla F. Teixeira4, and Susan M. Bengtson Nash1 Marie Bigot et al.
  • 1Environmental Futures Research Institute, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Rd, Nathan QLD 4111, Australia
  • 2Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston TAS 7050, Australia
  • 3Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 80, Hobart TAS 7001, Australia
  • 4Aquatic Contaminants Research Division, Environment Canada, 867 Lakeshore Rd, Burlington ON L7R 4A6, Canada
  • 5School of Environment, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Rd, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia

Abstract. Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) were, for the first time, quantified in archived firn cores from East Antarctica representative of 1945–1957 and 1958–1967 (current era, C.E.). The core sections were melted under high-purity nitrogen atmosphere, and the meltwater was analysed. Methods allowed quantification of hexachlorocyclohexanes, heptachlor, trans-chlordane, dieldrin and endrin. While the core presented evidence of nominal contamination by modern-use chemicals, indicating handling and/or storage contamination, legacy OCP concentrations and deposition rates reported are orders of magnitude lower than those from Arctic regions, lending support for their validity. The study further provides a description of equipment used and suggests methods to overcome logistical challenges associated with trace organic contaminant detection in polar regions.