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Climate change - an uncertainty factor in risk analysis of contaminated land
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Natural Sciences.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Natural Sciences.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Natural Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9382-9296
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Natural Sciences.
2011 (English)In: Science of the Total Environment, ISSN 0048-9697, E-ISSN 1879-1026, Vol. 409, no 22, 4693-4700 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Metals frequently occur at contaminated sites, where their potential toxicity and persistence require risk assessments that consider possible long-term changes. Changes in climate are likely to affect the speciation, mobility, and risks associated with metals. This paper provides an example of how the climate effect can be inserted in a commonly used exposure model, and how the exposure then changes compared to present conditions. The comparison was made for cadmium (Cd) exposure to 4-year-old children at a highly contaminated iron and steel works site in southeastern Sweden. Both deterministic and probabilistic approaches (through probability bounds analysis, PBA) were used in the exposure assessment. Potential climate-sensitive variables were determined by a literature review. Although only six of the total 39 model variables were assumed to be sensitive to a change in climate (groundwater infiltration, hydraulic conductivity, soil moisture, soil:water distribution, and two bioconcentration factors), the total exposure was clearly affected. For example, by altering the climate-sensitive variables in the order of 15% to 20%, the deterministic estimate of exposure increased by 27%. Similarly, the PBA estimate of the reasonable maximum exposure (RME, defined as the upper bound of the 95th percentile) increased by almost 20%. This means that sites where the exposure in present conditions is determined to be slightly below guideline values may in the future exceed these guidelines, and risk management decisions could thus be affected. The PBA, however, showed that there is also a possibility of lower exposure levels, which means that the changes assumed for the climate-sensitive variables increase the total uncertainty in the probabilistic calculations. This highlights the importance of considering climate as a factor in the characterization of input data to exposure assessments at contaminated sites. The variable with the strongest influence on the result was the soil:water distribution coefficient (Kd).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 409, no 22, 4693-4700 p.
Keyword [en]
Risk analysis; Climate change; Cadmium; Exposure assessment; Uncertainty; Probability bounds analysis
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Natural Science, Environmental Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-13696DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.07.051OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-13696DiVA: diva2:433783
Available from: 2011-08-11 Created: 2011-08-11 Last updated: 2016-11-15Bibliographically approved

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Augustsson, AnnaFilipsson, MonikaÖberg, TomasBergbäck, Bo
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CiteExportLink to record
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