Advances in Earth Science ›› 2022, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (2): 187-201. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2021.123

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Current Knowledge and Future Prospects Regarding Persistent Organic Pollutants over the Tibetan Plateau

Lei CHAI 1( ), Xiaoping WANG 1 , 2 , 3( )   

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Land Surface Processes,Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100101,China
    2.Chinese Academy of Sciences Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences,Beijing 100101,China
    3.University of Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100049,China
  • Received:2021-10-11 Revised:2021-12-29 Online:2022-02-10 Published:2022-03-08
  • Contact: Xiaoping WANG;
  • About author:CHAI Lei (1995-), male, Qingyang City, Gansu Province, Ph.D student. Research areas include environmental change of the Tibet Plateau. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    the Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research (STEP) Project "Investigation on transboundary pollutants and environmental safety"(2019QZKK0605);Class A Strategic Priority Research Science and Technology Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences "The Pan-Third Pole Environment Study for a Green Silk Road (Pan-TPE)"sub-project "Transboundary pollutants transport process and environmental impact countermeasures"(XDA2004050202)

Lei CHAI, Xiaoping WANG. Current Knowledge and Future Prospects Regarding Persistent Organic Pollutants over the Tibetan Plateau[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2022, 37(2): 187-201.

Entering the 21st century, our understanding of the level, source, transport and fate of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) over the Tibetan Plateau (TP), the largest and highest plateau on Earth, has been greatly enhanced. In this study, we have reviewed all the available literature to comprehensively understand the biogeochemical cycling of POPs over the TP. Based on the breakthrough of observation technology and multi-scale model developed for the TP region, new insights were obtained. The establishment of the atmospheric POPs monitoring network fills the data gap of POPs in the TP, and clarifies the emission characteristics of POPs in South Asia. All these data depict the spatiotemporal variation of POPs over the TP and shed the light on the role of the Indian monsoon on POPs transport. Vegetation, soil and glaciers of the TP act as important sinks for POPs. Use of POPs in surrounding counties, Long-Range Atmospheric Transport (LRAT) and "cold trapping" by the TP can happen following emission-transport-deposition events, and leading to the enrichment of POPs in the TP environment. Due to the intensification of human activities in the surrounding area of the TP and the melting of glaciers and frozen soil caused by global climate change, POPs behavior and distribution on the TP got changed, which should be of great concern. Therefore, long-term and continuous monitoring should be carried out in future to accurately quantify the impact of POPs and some emerging compounds on the ecological environment of the TP; the trend of environmental change over the TP under the joint influence of climate change and human activities should be addressed. Finally, it should be considered that transboundary transport is the main cause of POPs pollution over the TP, and global/regional cooperation should be actively carried out in terms of POPs emission regulations to reduce POPs migration and their adverse impact of POPs pollution over the TP.

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