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The dynamics of mercury in the Arctic atmosphere


Project start
Project end
Type of project
Project theme
Weather, climate & atmosphere
Project topic
Atmospheric science
Climate research

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Fieldwork region
Greenland, North-East
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 81.61734858928, -16.608581542969

Fieldwork start
Fieldwork end

Project details

Science / project plan
Project discription: The dynamics of mercury in the Arctic atmosphere

Mercury is found at toxic levels in the blood of people living in the Arctic. Not only does this pose a serious health hazard, the intellectual development of children may also be compromised and this might lead to increased costs to society. These dangerously high levels arise as the result of the combined effects of mercury biomagnification through the marine food webs and the resident’s traditional diet of fish and marine mammals. Furthermore, mercury pollution is a general threat to the sensitive Arctic ecosystems.

Our hypothesis that we want to test in the present project, is that the enhanced springtime deposition of atmospheric mercury to snow and sea-ice (due to so-called Arctic Mercury Depletion Episodes, AMDEs), which occurs simultaneously with the pulse of biological activity, leads to larger bioaccumulation of mercury into the Arctic environment than can be predicted by extrapolating from observations at mid-latitudes.  This is done for the first time by directly measure the net input of mercury by a newly developed flux system using micro-meteorological method together with operating a mercury speciation system, wet-only sampler.

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