Spatio-temporal distribution and sources identifications of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and their alkyl homolog in surface sediments in the central Arabian Gulf
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The quantitative analysis of 18 parents and their alkyl homologs was performed in sediment samples from the central Arabian Gulf (Gulf) around Qatar Peninsula in six sequential seasons, winter 2014 to spring 2015, at 21 locations with a water depth range of 1.5–60 m. PAHs distribution was patchy with higher concentrations found inside semi-enclosed coastal areas like harbors and bays. The mean PAHs concentration was 112 ng·g−1 dry weight with a range of 0.6 to 1560 ng·g−1 and a variability coefficient of 2.4. The PAHs mean concentration was highest in the winter by a factor of 5 compared to mean summer concentration. A significant seasonal variability in the concentrations of ∑PAHs is mainly attributed to variability in the concentrations of the low molecular weight PAHs fraction and the less alkylated PAHs. Alkylated-PAHs were the most dominant PAHs comprising about 50% of the ∑PAHs, and with about 6 times higher than the mean concentrations in the winter compared to the mean summer concentration. The LPAHs concentrations correlated negatively with temperature and ∑PAHs correlated positively with % clay. Principal component analysis was used to identify sources of PAHs. PAHs in the Gulf have mixed sources with an estimated 57% from petroleum and 43% from pyrogenic sources. Coastal water hydrodynamics and lateral transport processes affect the distribution and composition of PAHs in the central Gulf.