The role of the global cryosphere in the fate of organic contaminants
- ISSN: 16807316
- DOI: 10.5194/acp-13-3271-2013
The cryosphere is an important component of global organic contaminant cycles. Snow is an efficient scavenger of atmospheric organic pollutants while a seasonal snowpack, sea ice, glaciers and ice caps are contaminant reservoirs on time scales ranging from days to millennia. Important physical and chemical processes occurring in the various cryospheric compartments impact contaminant cycling and fate. A variety of interactions and feedbacks also occur within the cryospheric system, most of which are susceptible to perturbations due to climate change. In this article, we review the current state of knowledge regarding the transport and processing of organic contaminants in the global cryosphere with an emphasis on the role of a changing climate. Given the complexity of contaminant interactions with the cryosphere and limitations on resources and research capacity, interdisciplinary research and extended collaborations are essential to close identified knowledge gaps and to improve our understanding of contaminant fate under a changing climate.