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Spatial and seasonal variabilities of dissolved hydrocarbons in surface waters from the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea: Results from one year intensive sampling

August 30, 2013

Dissolved aliphatic hydrocarbons (AHs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were analysed from surface water collected in continental, harbour and off-shore marine sites from Marseilles coastal area (Northwestern Mediterranean Sea) from February 2011 to February 2012. AH and PAH concentrations were in the range of 0.04–0.53 μg l− 1 and 8.1–405 ng l− 1, respectively. They both displayed seasonal and spatial variations in their concentrations and molecular composition. The lowest AH concentrations were found in summer and the highest PAH concentrations in winter. Both natural and anthropogenic (pyrogenic and petrogenic) hydrocarbon sources were identified. In winter, concentrations and composition patterns highlighted an increase in the signature of unburned and combusted fossil fuels, while they suggested an enhancement of weathering processes in summer months. Hydrocarbon inputs to the dissolved phase seemed to originate mainly from the atmosphere and the Rhône River. Hydrocarbon additional sources were identified only at the harbour site, emphasising the intense shipping traffic and industrial activities occurring in one of the most important Mediterranean harbours. This study underscores the strong dynamics of dissolved hydrocarbons and the uncoupling of the sources, transport and removing processes affecting AHs and PAHs. It also demonstrates the pertinence of taking this dynamics into account for the budget assessments of organic pollutants in coastal environments.

Guigue C, Tedetti M, Ferretto N, Garcia N, Méjanelle L, Goutx M, 2013, Spatial and seasonal variabilities of dissolved hydrocarbons in surface waters from the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea: Results from one year intensive sampling, Science of the Total Environment, 466-467, 650-662, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.07.082. Article.

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