Northern Contaminants Air Monitoring: Organochlorine Measurements

Updated 2000-06-08

The objectives of this project are: A) to determine whether atmospheric concentrations and deposition of priority pollutants in the Arctic are changing in response to various national and international initiatives by: i) continuing to measure the occurrence of selected organochlorines in the arctic atmosphere at Alert, NWT for a period of three more years (measurements started in 1992), in parallel with identical measurements in western Russia at Amderma; ii) sampling at the Kinngait (Cape Dorset) station in 2000/2001 for the purpose of detecting change in the eastern Canadian Arctic by comparison with observations made four years earlier (1994-1996) at this site; and iii) analyzing and reporting data from Alert, Tagish, Kinngait and Dunai Island thereby providing insight into pollutant trends and sources. B) Ensuring the effective utilization of information at the international negotiating table in order to achieve the appropriate restrictions on release of pollutants of concern for the arctic environment by: i) contributing to the next assessment arising from the second phase of the Northern Contaminants Program (Canada) and specifically, the revised Assessments on POPs and Heavy Metals as part of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment (AMAP) Program Work Plan; and ii) advising Canadian negotiators in preparing reasonable, practical strategies of control.

This is a National Implementation Plan (NIP) project

Time frame

Project time span
1992 -
Data collection
1992 -
Data processing
1992 -
Data reporting
1992 -

Contact information

Contact person
Pierrette Blanchard
Meteorological Service of Canada, 4905 Dufferin St., Downsview, Ontario, Canada M3H 5T4
+1 416 739 5701
+1 416 739 5708

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
Media sampled/studied/modelled
Additional information or further specification of types of data / information collected, species / tissues / organs sampled, etc.

Specific POPs measured: organochlorines (PCB congeners, toxaphene, chlordane, DDT, chlorobenzenes and selected herbicides) and 20 priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)


Regions studied
Atmospheric TDC
Atmospheric TDC
Atmospheric TDC
Atmospheric TDC
Stations or areas where observations are made

Air samples (gaseous and particulate) were collected at: - Alert, NWT, Canada 1992 - ongoing weekly samples; - Kinngait, Nunavut, Canada 1994-1996, 2000/2001 - 2002/2003; - Tagish, Yukon Territory, Canada 1993 - 1995; - Dunai Island, Russia 1993 - 1995; - Amderma, western Russia 1999 - ongoing

Data availability

Are data archived or planned to be archived at an AMAP Thematic Data Centre?
Data centres
Atmospheric TDC
If no (or only part of data are reported to a TDC), where and how are (other) data stored?
Data contained in: Berg, T. and Hjellbrekke, A-G. 1999. AMAP Datareport: Atmospheric Subprogramme. Norsk institutt for luftforskning / Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU). NILU OR-16-99. Reference O-94070. 100 pp. The data will be provided upon request to the relevant AMAP assessment chapter authors/drafters, assuming a similar data ownership agreement will be adopted for the second AMAP assessment as was used for the first. In addition, a number of publications has been produced from the data (see below). At this time, final data sets are available for Alert 1992-1996, Tagish 1992-1995 and Dunai Island 1993-1995.
References to key publications (or planned publications) and data reports
Bailey, R., L.A. Barrie, C.J. Halsall, P. Fellin and D.C.G. Muir. 2000. Atmospheric organochlorine pesticides in the western Canadian arctic: evidence of trans-Pacific transport. J. Geophys. Research. Accepted Dec. 1999. Halsall, C.J., R. Bailey, G.A. Stern, L.A. Barrie, P. Fellin, D.C.G. Muir, F.Ya. Rovinsky, E.Ya. Kononov and B. Pastukov. 1998. Organohalogen pesticides in the arctic atmosphere. Environmental Pollution. 102, 51-62. Stern, G.A., C.J. Halsall, L.A. Barrie, D.C.G. Muir, P. Fellin, B. Rosenberg, F.Ya. Rovinsky, E.Ya. Kononov and B. Pastuhov. 1997. Polychlorinated biphenyls in arctic air, 1. Temporal and spatial trends: 1992-1994. Environ. Sci. Technol. 31, 3619-3628. Harner, T., H. Kylin, T.F. Bidleman, C. Halsall, W.M.J. Strachan, L.A. Barrie and P. Fellin. 1998. Polychlorinated naphthalenes and coplanar biphenyls in arctic air. Environ. Sci. Technol. 32, 3257-3265.
Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?
Specimen banking information

Samples from Alert are archived at the Meteorological Service of Canada in Downsview, Ontario, Canada.

Methods & Procedures

Procedures and methodology used for, e.g., sampling and sample storage, sample pretreatment, extraction and analysis, including which laboratories are involved, references to methods employed, etc.

Routine weekly, ground-level atmospheric measurements of particulate and gaseous OCs and PAH are extracted according to standard protocol at the Conor Pacific laboratory and analyzed at the Freshwater Institute, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Winnipeg, MB, Canada. Quality control and preliminary data analysis are done by Conor Pacific and laboratories within the Meteorological Service of Canada. Please see references listed above for methods

QA/QC Information (what QA/QC procedures are implemented, laboratories involvment in QA/QC activities, model verification/validation routines, etc.)

Analytical and QA/QC responsibilities are divided between the following three laboratories: Conor Pacific, the Freshwater Institute and laboratories within the Meteorological Service of Canada. As part of the Northern Contaminants Program (NCP), all three laboratories participate in the NCP QA/QC program.

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
Other institutes involved in the project

Please refer to the Canadian National AMAP Implementation Plan for details.

Is this project reporting to other organizations/programmes?

Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Northern Contaminants Program Environment Canada, Canada's federal environmental agency.

Other related projects

"New Persistent Chemicals in the Arctic Environment" Terry Bidleman, Meteorological Service of Canada

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