Temporal and spatial trends for trace metals in streams and rivers across Sweden (1996–2009)
Abstract. Long term data series (1996 through 2009) for trace metals were analyzed from a large number of streams and rivers across Sweden varying in tributary watershed size from 0.05 to 48 193 km2. The final data set included 139 stream sites with data for arsenic (As), cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), and vanadium (V). Between 7 % and 46 % of the sites analyzed showed significant trends according to the seasonal Kendall test. However, in contrast to previous studies and depositional patterns, a substantial portion of the trends were positive, especially for V (100 %), As (95 %), and Pb (68 %). Other metals (Zn and Cr) generally decreased, were mixed (Ni and Zn), or had very few trends (Co) over the study period. Trends by region were also analyzed and some showed significant variation between the north and south of Sweden. Regional trends for both Cu and Pb were positive (60 % and 93 %, respectively) in the southern region but strongly negative (93 % and 75 %, respectively) in the northern region. Kendall's τ coefficients were used to determine dependence between metals and potential in-stream drivers including total organic carbon (TOC), iron (Fe), pH, and sulphate (SO42−). TOC and Fe correlated positively and strongly with As, V, Pb, and Co while pH and SO42− generally correlated weakly, or not at all with the metals studied.