The transboundary transportation of pollutants from The Zambian Copperbelt

Dlamini, Simangele
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The transportation of aerosols and trace gas material from industrial activities and biomass burning in southern Africa has received widespread attention from scientists over the past decade. Dominant circulation patterns in the sub-region facilitate the southward transportation of sulphur pollutants from the pyromerturllugical processing of copper in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and products of biomass burning from countries in the sub-region in general. This research focuses on the contribution of industrial pollutants from the Zambian Copperbelt and products of biomass burning in the sub-region to total aerosol loading over South Africa. The seasonality of air transport over the region in general, and South Africa in particular, is determined from different transport fields and their frequency of occurrence. Data supplied by the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) has been used to run trajectories for the summer, autumn, winter and spring seasons for southern Africa for the years 1990-1994. Forward trajectories have been calculated for the 850, 800, 750 and 700hPa geopotential heights, from Kitwe (12.9° S, 28.2° E, 1262m above mean sea level), at 2.5° resolution. The wall programme has been used as a tool for analysis. Trajectories show widespread recirculation over the subcontinent, resulting in a net transportation of sulphate aerosols from the Zambian Copperbelt. Biomass burning products are likely to join this plume, especially during the late winter and spring seasons. During the summer, air transport is mainly to the west, via Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, off the eastern Atlantic towards southern America.
Master of Science - Science
zambia, pollutants, copperbelt, transportation, transboundary