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Tundra uptake of atmospheric elemental mercury drives Arctic mercury pollution.
Nature. 2017 07 12; 547(7662):201-204.Nat

Abstract

Anthropogenic activities have led to large-scale mercury (Hg) pollution in the Arctic. It has been suggested that sea-salt-induced chemical cycling of Hg (through 'atmospheric mercury depletion events', or AMDEs) and wet deposition via precipitation are sources of Hg to the Arctic in its oxidized form (Hg(ii)). However, there is little evidence for the occurrence of AMDEs outside of coastal regions, and their importance to net Hg deposition has been questioned. Furthermore, wet-deposition measurements in the Arctic showed some of the lowest levels of Hg deposition via precipitation worldwide, raising questions as to the sources of high Arctic Hg loading. Here we present a comprehensive Hg-deposition mass-balance study, and show that most of the Hg (about 70%) in the interior Arctic tundra is derived from gaseous elemental Hg (Hg(0)) deposition, with only minor contributions from the deposition of Hg(ii) via precipitation or AMDEs. We find that deposition of Hg(0)-the form ubiquitously present in the global atmosphere-occurs throughout the year, and that it is enhanced in summer through the uptake of Hg(0) by vegetation. Tundra uptake of gaseous Hg(0) leads to high soil Hg concentrations, with Hg masses greatly exceeding the levels found in temperate soils. Our concurrent Hg stable isotope measurements in the atmosphere, snowpack, vegetation and soils support our finding that Hg(0) dominates as a source to the tundra. Hg concentration and stable isotope data from an inland-to-coastal transect show high soil Hg concentrations consistently derived from Hg(0), suggesting that the Arctic tundra might be a globally important Hg sink. We suggest that the high tundra soil Hg concentrations might also explain why Arctic rivers annually transport large amounts of Hg to the Arctic Ocean.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Massachusetts 01854, USA. Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute, 2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, Nevada 89512, USA.Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute, 2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, Nevada 89512, USA. Milieux Environnementaux, Transferts et Interactions dans les Hydrosystèmes et les Sols (METIS), UMR 7619, Sorbonne Universités UPMC-CNRS-EPHE, 4 place Jussieu, F-75252 Paris, France.Géosciences Environnement Toulouse, CNRS/OMP/Université de Toulouse, 14 Avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France.Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute, 2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, Nevada 89512, USA.Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado, 4001 Discovery Drive, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA.Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado, 4001 Discovery Drive, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA.Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute, 2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, Nevada 89512, USA. Gas Technology Institute (GTI), 1700 South Mount Prospect Road, Des Plaines, Illinois 60018, USA.Géosciences Environnement Toulouse, CNRS/OMP/Université de Toulouse, 14 Avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France.Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado, 4001 Discovery Drive, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

28703199

Citation

Obrist, Daniel, et al. "Tundra Uptake of Atmospheric Elemental Mercury Drives Arctic Mercury Pollution." Nature, vol. 547, no. 7662, 2017, pp. 201-204.
Obrist D, Agnan Y, Jiskra M, et al. Tundra uptake of atmospheric elemental mercury drives Arctic mercury pollution. Nature. 2017;547(7662):201-204.
Obrist, D., Agnan, Y., Jiskra, M., Olson, C. L., Colegrove, D. P., Hueber, J., Moore, C. W., Sonke, J. E., & Helmig, D. (2017). Tundra uptake of atmospheric elemental mercury drives Arctic mercury pollution. Nature, 547(7662), 201-204. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature22997
Obrist D, et al. Tundra Uptake of Atmospheric Elemental Mercury Drives Arctic Mercury Pollution. Nature. 2017 07 12;547(7662):201-204. PubMed PMID: 28703199.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Tundra uptake of atmospheric elemental mercury drives Arctic mercury pollution. AU - Obrist,Daniel, AU - Agnan,Yannick, AU - Jiskra,Martin, AU - Olson,Christine L, AU - Colegrove,Dominique P, AU - Hueber,Jacques, AU - Moore,Christopher W, AU - Sonke,Jeroen E, AU - Helmig,Detlev, PY - 2017/01/30/received PY - 2017/05/24/accepted PY - 2017/7/14/entrez PY - 2017/7/14/pubmed PY - 2017/11/29/medline SP - 201 EP - 204 JF - Nature JO - Nature VL - 547 IS - 7662 N2 - Anthropogenic activities have led to large-scale mercury (Hg) pollution in the Arctic. It has been suggested that sea-salt-induced chemical cycling of Hg (through 'atmospheric mercury depletion events', or AMDEs) and wet deposition via precipitation are sources of Hg to the Arctic in its oxidized form (Hg(ii)). However, there is little evidence for the occurrence of AMDEs outside of coastal regions, and their importance to net Hg deposition has been questioned. Furthermore, wet-deposition measurements in the Arctic showed some of the lowest levels of Hg deposition via precipitation worldwide, raising questions as to the sources of high Arctic Hg loading. Here we present a comprehensive Hg-deposition mass-balance study, and show that most of the Hg (about 70%) in the interior Arctic tundra is derived from gaseous elemental Hg (Hg(0)) deposition, with only minor contributions from the deposition of Hg(ii) via precipitation or AMDEs. We find that deposition of Hg(0)-the form ubiquitously present in the global atmosphere-occurs throughout the year, and that it is enhanced in summer through the uptake of Hg(0) by vegetation. Tundra uptake of gaseous Hg(0) leads to high soil Hg concentrations, with Hg masses greatly exceeding the levels found in temperate soils. Our concurrent Hg stable isotope measurements in the atmosphere, snowpack, vegetation and soils support our finding that Hg(0) dominates as a source to the tundra. Hg concentration and stable isotope data from an inland-to-coastal transect show high soil Hg concentrations consistently derived from Hg(0), suggesting that the Arctic tundra might be a globally important Hg sink. We suggest that the high tundra soil Hg concentrations might also explain why Arctic rivers annually transport large amounts of Hg to the Arctic Ocean. SN - 1476-4687 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/28703199/Tundra_uptake_of_atmospheric_elemental_mercury_drives_Arctic_mercury_pollution_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1038/nature22997 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -