From Source to Sink of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Sediments in the East China Seas

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Zhigang Guo, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, Tian Lin, Institue of Geochemistry, Guiyang, China and Limin Hu, First Institute of Oceanography, Qingdao, China
The East China Seas (ECSs), including Bohai Sea (77,000 km2), Yellow Sea (400,000 km2) and East China Sea (770,000 km2) have experienced a great variety of demographic and economic conditions which have a profound influence on the source composition of land-based polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the sediments since ECSs’s coasts support about 420 million peoples, provide more than half of the national GDP in China in 2007, and are major emission regions of PAHs in China. Furthermore, the ECSs are downwind of the Asian continental outflow in spring and winter driven by the East Asian monsoon. The sources of 16 USEPA priority PAHs in strategically selected surface sediment samples from the ECSs were apportioned using positive matrix factorization model, and the input pathways of PAHs were also revealed in the regions. Four sources were identified: petroleum residue, vehicular emissions, coal combustion and biomass burning. Petroleum residue was the dominant contributor of PAHs in the coast of the Bohai Bay probably due to Haihe River runoff, oil leakage from ships and offshore oil fields. The PAHs in sediments of the coastal East China Sea were mainly sourced from the Yangtze River discharge into the sea. The combined results of PMF, PCA and composition of PAHs suggest that the atmospheric deposition is the dominate input of PAHs for the open seas of Bohai Sea, East China Sea and Yellow Sea; while river input is the major pathway of PAHs in the estuarine and neighborhood coastal areas. The demographic and economic conditions around the ECSs have profound influence on the origins of the land-based PAHs in the sediments of the open seas.