Patterns of Arctic Circulation

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Science  17 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5533, pp. 1269-1270
DOI: 10.1126/science.1064217

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Pollutants such as lead are transported even to remote regions of the world, where they are deposited in sediments. In his Perspective, Mysak highlights the report by Gobeil et al. , who have studied lead concentration in sediments in the Arctic Ocean. These sediments accumulated over a period of several decades when the high-latitude atmospheric circulation was in a very stable (negative) state and the Atlantic inflow probably did not penetrate very far into the Arctic Basin. The atmospheric circulation has now entered a positive state, in which pollutants entering the ocean from Western Europe are likely to penetrate farther into the Arctic and might even reach the Canadian Basin.