Climate change impact on the occurrence of PAH transformation products in Arctic soils

Project facts

Project promoter
Rovira i Virgili University (URV)
Project Number:
Target groups
Researchers or scientists
Initial project cost:
Final project cost:
From EEA Grants:
€ 9,092
The project is carried out in:


The assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have demonstrated that Earth’s climate is changing. One of the consequences of climate change that has recently attracted attention is its potential to alter the environmental distribution and biological effects of chemical toxicants, including Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). The aim of this project will be to characterize the occurrence of nitro- and hydroxy-PAHs,as degradation products of PAHs, in Artic soils. These results will be the basis for the study of PAHs and metabolites in the Arctic environment under climate change scenarios. The donor partner, Norwegian University of Life Science, is carrying out the determination of PAH and transformation products in Arctic atmospheric samples. Project promoter, Rovira I Virgili University is currently studying the degradation of PAHs in soils under different Mediterranean climate change scenarios. The main beneficiaries of the project will be the scientific community and citizens at all levels.

Summary of project results

Fate and transport of environmental pollutants in the Artic, especially POPs, has become a topic of concern during the last decades. First, because of their LRAT capacity, and second because of the notable sensitivity of this zone un front if the climate change impact. Regarding PAHs, although most studies have been focused on atmospheric pollution, soil as a fundamental matrix for their storage capacity, as PAHs is tipically sorbed to soil organic matter, In addition, it is well known that PAHs can react with other chemicals and transformation products may be formed. Studies of PAHs and transformation products in Artic soils are very scarce. Because or air-soil exchange, PAHs as well as their metabolites can be deposited in closer soils, or even they can be transported to higher latitudes (such as Artic regions) and finally be deposited. This study shall generate new data that will be essential in order to study the fate of PAHs in the Artic and the potential effects of climate change on the PAH environmental burdens. The project included the following tasks: analysis of the sampling area; collection of soil samples; soil extraction; clean-up method; silica clean-up; nitrogen (N2) evaporation; Gas chromatograph/Mass spectrometer analysis; analysis of the results. Such results can be compared to studies developed in other regions, as well as the origin of these identified pollutants can be reported. In addition, statistical tools such as Principal Component Analysis or Self-Organizing Maps, capable to handle with great amounts of data, will be applied to determine the potential influence of local emission sources and the impact of the LRAT on soil PAH concentrations in the Artic. As intermediate result of the project, a paper was submitted to the ICCE conference (International Conference on Chemistry and Environment), and a scientific paper is in preparation.

Summary of bilateral results

Both institutions are strongly cooperating within the project. Actually, the GC-MSxMS method for byproducts is developed in cooperation, and they are studying the possibility to apply for more funding in order to continue collaborating. The project allowed partners to increase the visibility of its results, at the ICCE conference and via a joint scientific paper.