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CCPO Speaker to Discuss Pollutant Threats from Antarctic Melting Today

Research involving the long-term persistence of organic pollutants in the Antarctic region will be presented by Rebecca Dickhut of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at a fall seminar of Old Dominion University's Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography today at 3:30 p.m.

Dickhut will discuss evidence that contaminants previously stored in the western Antarctic ice sheet are being released into the atmosphere or coastal waters because of melting caused by rising temperatures. These contaminants were carried to the southern polar region over many years by long-range atmospheric transport.

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that are currently banned or severely restricted for use throughout the world have shown up in air and melt-water samples taken in recent years in Antarctica. For example, Dickhut estimates that significant amounts of DDT are currently being released each year into coastal waters along the Western Antarctic Peninsula due to glacier abdulation, although applications of DDT around the globe have been severely restricted since its peak use in the 1970s.

Scientific studies by Dickhut, who is chair of the VIMS Department of Physical Sciences, have helped government policymakers understand the long-term persistence of certain organic compounds and provided the basis for international treaties that ban or curtail the use of these compounds.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served at a reception from 3-3:30 p.m. in the third-floor lounge of the Innovation Research Park @ ODU Building and the lecture will follow in Room 3200.

This article was posted on: September 5, 2008

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