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Consequences of sea level rise for high metal(loid) loads in the Ría of Huelva estuary sediments

Title data

Kerl, Carolin ; Basallote, M. Dolores ; Käberich, Merle ; Oldani, Erica ; Cerón Espejo, Nathalia P. ; Colina Blanco, Andrea Ester ; Cánovas, Carlos Ruiz ; Nieto, José Miguel ; Planer-Friedrich, Britta:
Consequences of sea level rise for high metal(loid) loads in the Ría of Huelva estuary sediments.
In: Science of the Total Environment. Vol. 873 (2023) . - 162354.
ISSN 0048-9697

Abstract in another language

Ría of Huelva, located in southwestern Spain, is a highly metal(loid)-contaminated estuary system where sediments are exceeding action limits in an increasing order for Cd, Zn, Pb, Cu, and As. With a predicted sea level rise over the next 50 years, the estuary will be subject to flooding with brackish water or seawater. To evaluate the risk of metal(loid) mobilization under future climate scenarios, different locations along the estuary were sampled at different depths. Samples were flooded with river water, brackish water, and seawater under different short- and long-term laboratory setups. Potential metal(loid) mobilization showed that water quality standards for As, Pb, Zn, Ni, Cu, and Cd could be exceeded upon seawater flooding. However, metal(loid) mobilization was not predictable solely based on sediment loads. The driving factors for cation and anion mobility were identified to be mainly pH under low salinity and competitive desorption under high salinity conditions. Further drivers such as wave movement or labile C input in C-limited systems were found to enhance metal(loid) mobilization. Long-term flooding of intact sediment cores revealed that sea level rise will have different effects on the estuary system depending on duration of flooding. Short-term flooding in the near future will first affect alkaline sediments and enhance currently low cation mobilization, while anion mobilization due to reductive Fe dissolution will remain high. Once acidic sediments further inland are flooded with seawater, highest contaminant mobilization can be expected as high salinity will further enhance already high cation mobilization under acidic pH. Long-term flooding with seawater will neutralize the sediment pH and limit cation mobilization compared to acidic pH. However, the contaminant load stored in the estuary is so high that, extrapolating data obtained, mobilization could last for >1000 years, e.g. for As, Pb, and Al.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Professor Environmental Geochemistry Group > Professor Environmental Geochemistry - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Britta Planer-Friedrich
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2023 08:00
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2023 08:00