Comparative analysis of methods for air pollution assessing in the Arctic mining area

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We analysed the chemical compositions of snow, soil, and bioindicators (pine bark Pinus sylvestris, Sphagnum fallax moss bags) to assess atmospheric pollution in the vicinity of the Severonickel copper-nickel industrial complex in the Kola Peninsula. We conducted a comparative analysis of mineralogical, geochemical, and physicochemical parameters as well as the metal contents (Ca, Fe, Pb, Zn, Mn, Ni, Cu, Cd, Sc, V, Co, and Ba) of environmental components across a 32-km pollution gradient. The mineralogical and chemical composition of soil, snow aerosols, and Sphagnum fallax moss bags all corresponded to the metallogeny of the research area and the ore specialisation of the enterprise (Ni, Cu, Co, and V). Solid aerosols consisted of rock-forming and accessory minerals as well as technogenic formations (slag particles and aggregates composed of Ni–Fe–Co ± Cu). The concentration of metals in soils, aerosols, snow water, and pine bark significantly exceeded their background values. The reconstruction of new technologies in the Severonickel smelter and recent reduction in emissions did not significantly improve the state of the different landscape components. The calculation of dust, metal, and ionic loads from snow surveys and moss bags showed comparable results. Technogenic emissions were higher in summer due to the increase in atmospheric dust. The low pH of soils and snow water reflected the geochemical conditions of the landscape and increased metal mobility in the environment. The high total content of Ni, Cu, and Co and their mobile forms in soils contributed to the high accumulation of metals in pine bark; this method can therefore be used as an accurate indicator of environmental degradation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-88
Number of pages13
JournalAtmospheric Pollution Research
Issue number1
Early online date26 Aug 2020
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Atmospheric Science


  • Aerosols
  • Air pollution
  • Metals
  • Mining
  • Pine bark
  • Snow water
  • Soils
  • Sphagnum fallax moss Bags


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