Dry atmospheric inputs of trace metals at the Mediterranean coast of Israel (SE Mediterranean): Sources and fluxes

Barak Herut, Malcolm Nimmo, Angela Medway, Roy Chester, Michael D. Krom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study presents the first detailed data on aerosol concentrations of trace metals (Cd, Pb, Cu, Zn, Cr, Mn, Fe and Al) at the SE Mediterranean coast of Israel, and assesses their sources and fluxes. Aerosol samples were collected at two sampling stations (Tel-Shikmona and Maagan Michael) along the coast between 1994 and 1997. Two broad categories of aerosol trace metal sources were defined; anthropogenic (Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn) and naturally derived elements (Al, Fe, Mn and Cr). The extent of the anthropogenic contribution was estimated by the degree of enrichment of these elements compared to the average crustal composition (EF(crust)). High values (median >100) were calculated for Cd, Pb and Zn, minor values for Cu and relatively low values (<10) for Fe, Mn and Cr. The crustal-derived elements exhibited a statistically significant seasonal pattern of higher concentrations during spring and autumn (e.g. Al concentrations in some cases during these periods were observed to be in excess of 1500ngm-3). In the eastern Mediterranean basin crustal-dominated elements are enriched by 2-3 times while others (Cd and Pb) are comparable to the northwestern Mediterranean. The Pb:Cd ratios of ~150 are higher than in coastal European sites (60-116) or emission materials (~50). It is speculated that these differences are attributed mainly to the mixing of crustal material with local and European emissions. At present, it is impossible to quantify the latter two fractions. Back trajectory analysis and the subsequent categorization of two main aerosol populations, 'European' and 'North Africa-Arabian', exhibited a significantly different geochemical imprint on the aerosol chemical composition. 'European'-derived air masses indicated significantly higher EF(crust) values for Cd and Pb due to the greater anthropogenic character of the aerosol population, with a dilution by crustal material of this population leading to comparatively lower EF(crust) values associated with the North African-Arabian air masses. Copyright (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-813
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to express their gratitude to the collaboration of Hadera Association of Towns for Environmental Protection and Ashdod-Yavneh Regional Association for Environmental Protection. The authors wish to thank Y. Gertner and G. Fainstein for their technical assistance in the dust filters analyses and sample collection. This study was supported in part by the Israeli Ministry of Environment, UNEP/WMO (Medpol Program, projects 8.072 and 5.116), the Israeli Ministry of Infrastructure and by UK NERC grant no: GR3/10016.


  • Aerosol
  • Atmosphere
  • Fluxes
  • Mediterranean
  • Pollution
  • Sahara
  • Trace metals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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