Spatio-temporal aerosol trace metal concentrations and sources in the Levantine Basin of the Eastern Mediterranean

M. Koçak, M. Nimmo, N. Kubilay, B. Herut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study considers the spatial and temporal variability in aerosol trace metal concentrations (Al, Fe, Mn, Cr, Cu, Pb, Cd, Zn) in the Levantine Basin of the Eastern Mediterranean, utilising an extensive sample library (n=621) collected between 1999 and 2001, at two coastal sites located at the northern, Erdemli (Turkey) and southeastern, Tel Shikmona (TS, Israel), region of the Basin. A critical evaluation of the datasets from the two locations was presented. Enhanced concentrations of Al (1.7×), Fe (1.8×), Mn (2.1×) were detected at the more southerly sampling station, during common dust events, owing to the greater proximity of desert dust sources (NE Africa and Saudi Peninsula); leading to a gradual decline in crustal inputs northwards across the basin. An insignificant Pb gradient was noticed across the Levantine Basin, which has exhibited a decadal decrease (40%). Cr was enriched in the north by a factor of three accounted by local sources. Cu was also enriched, to a lower extent, by about a factor of two. Seasonal variations of the crustal elements (Al, Fe, Mn) at Erdemli were detected (transitional>summer>winter) owing to both, a greater frequency and intensity of dust events during the transitional period and a greater washout effect during winter. It is likely that similar variations occur at TS as both sites experienced similar dust and rainfall events. It was observed at Erdemli that all elements (except Pb and Cd) exhibit their lowest concentrations in the winter period due to a greater washout effect. The lack of seasonal difference between winter and summer for Pb and Cd may have been due to the relatively high emission intensities of regional sources rapidly regenerating aerosol concentrations and their association with fine particles which are less efficiently scavenged during rain events. During the summer, Zn derived from local transportation and agricultural activities, was more pronounced, leading to an enhancement of around 10% in its concentration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2133-2144
Number of pages12
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number14
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded in part by Middle East Technical University (AFP-2001-07-01-01) and NATO (through a linkage grant of EST.CLG.977811). In addition the authors would like to thank Emin Özsoy for making available the ECMWF trajectory analysis through collaboration with the Turkish State Meteorological Office and the assistance of UNEP/MAP within the frame of MED POL Phase III and project 18.635. We thank the NASA/GSFC/TOMS group for the use of aerosol index data. The authors would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.


  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Levantine Basin
  • Marine aerosol
  • Trace metals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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