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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Shijie Song; Boqi Chen; Tao Huang; Shuxin Ma; Luqian Liu; Jinmu Luo; Huizhong Shen; Jiaxin Wang; Liang Guo; Min Wu; Xiaoxuan Mao; Yuan Zhao; Hong Gao; Jianmin Ma
Publication Date: 2023

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have become cause for growing concern in the Arctic ecosystems, partly due to their stable levels despite global emission reduction. Wildfire is considered one of the primary sources that influence PAH levels and trends in the Arctic, but quantitative investigations of this influence are still lacking. This study estimates the global emissions of benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), a congener of PAHs with high carcinogenicity, from forest and grassland fires from 2001 to 2020 and simulates the contributions of wildfire-induced BaP emissions from different source regions to BaP contamination in the Arctic. We find that global wildfires contributed 29.3% to annual averaging BaP concentrations in the Arctic from 2001 to 2020. Additionally, we show that wildfires contributed significantly to BaP concentrations in the Arctic after 2011, enhancing it from 10.1% in 2011 to 83.9% in 2020. Our results reveal that wildfires accounted for 94.2% and 50.8% of BaP levels in the Asian Arctic during boreal summer and autumn, respectively, and 74.2% and 14.5% in the North American Arctic for the same seasons. The source-tagging approach identified that local wildfire biomass emissions were the largest source of BaP in the Arctic, accounting for 65.7% of its concentration, followed by those of Northern Asia (17.8%) and Northern North America (13.7%). Our findings anticipate wildfires to play a larger role in Arctic PAH contaminations alongside continually decreasing anthropogenic emissions and climate warming in the future.

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Citation: Song, Shijie; Chen, Boqi; Huang, Tao; Ma, Shuxin; Liu, Luqian; Luo, Jinmu; Shen, Huizhong; Wang, Jiaxin; Guo, Liang; Wu, Min; Mao, Xiaoxuan; Zhao, Yuan; Gao, Hong; Ma, Jianmin. 2023. Assessing the contribution of global wildfire biomass burning to BaP contamination in the Arctic. Environmental Science and Ecotechnology 14:100232.

Cataloging Information

  • Arctic
  • BaP - benzo(a)pyrene
  • PAH - polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • source apportionment
  • wildfires
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Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 67249