Influence of climate and biological variables on temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants in Arctic char and ringed seals from Greenland†
Climate change may affect temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Arctic wildlife. We studied how biological and climate variables influence temporal trends of selected POP groups in landlocked Arctic char muscle and in ringed seal blubber from West and East Greenland. The variables included fish length or animal age, sex, a stable nitrogen isotope, sea ice extent, air or seawater temperature, salinity and the Arctic Oscillation Index (AOI). Model selection for multiple regression showed that the most important predictors varied among POP groups, species and region. Decreasing time trends were found for all POP groups with the exception of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) concentration which remained stable in Arctic char and ringed seals from West Greenland. When retained in the most parsimonious model, the AOI was positively associated with POP concentrations for East Greenland seals, but negatively for West Greenland seals. Seawater temperature and sea ice extent were positively associated with POP concentrations. The effects of explanatory variables on the annual rates of change in POP concentrations were relatively minor relative to the decline caused by reduction in POP emissions following national and international regulations introduced since the 1970s.