Measurement and modeling of urban atmospheric PCB concentrations on a small (8 km) spatial scale

Lisa A. Totten*, Georgiy Lvovich Stenchikov, Cari L. Gigliotti, Nilesh Lahoti, Steven J. Eisenreich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Atmospheric transport and deposition of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) is an important problem for ecosystems around the world. Data from several monitoring networks demonstrate that atmospheric PCB concentrations are dramatically elevated in urban areas compared to rural or background regions, such that these urban emissions of PCBs support the regional and global transport and deposition of PCBs to more remote areas. Identifying and controlling the sources of urban atmospheric PCBs is thus essential in minimizing the regional and global transport and deposition of these compounds. From December 1999 to November 2000, gas-phase PCB concentrations were measured at two monitoring locations, ∼8 km apart, within the New York City metropolitan area, at Jersey City and Bayonne, NJ. Concentrations, congener patterns, and temporal patterns of PCBs differ dramatically at the two sites, suggesting that a significant source of atmospheric PCBs exists within 8 km of the Bayonne site, resulting in spikes in gas-phase PCB concentration at Bayonne that are not observed at Jersey City. The Regional Atmospheric Model System (RAMS) coupled with the Hybrid Particle and Concentration Transport model (HYPACT) was used to estimate that the PCB source near Bayonne emits a flux of ΣPCBs on the order of 100 g d-1. Extrapolation of this source magnitude to the area of New York City suggests that this urban area emits at least 300 kg yr-1 ΣPCBs to the regional atmosphere, similar in magnitude to the flow of ΣPCB out of the Upper Hudson River into the New York/New Jersey Harbor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7940-7952
Number of pages13
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number40
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


  • Harbor
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Persistent organic pollutants
  • RAMS
  • Transport modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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