Fate of elemental mercury in the Arctic during atmospheric mercury depletion episodes and the load of atmospheric mercury to the Arctic.
ABSTRACT Atmospheric mercury depletion episodes (AMDEs) were studied at Station Nord, Northeast Greenland, 81 degrees 36' N, 16 degrees 40' W, during the Arctic Spring. Gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) and ozone were measured starting from 1998 and 1999, respectively, until August 2002. GEM was measured with a TEKRAN 2735A automatic mercury analyzer based on preconcentration of mercury on a gold trap followed by detection using fluorescence spectroscopy. Ozone was measured by UV absorption. A scatter plot of GEM and ozone concentrations confirmed that also at Station Nord GEM and ozone are linearly correlated during AMDEs. The relationship between ozone and GEM is further investigated in this paper using basic reaction kinetics (i.e., Cl, ClO, Br, and BrO have been suggested as reactants for GEM). The analyses in this paper show that GEM in the Arctic troposphere most probably reacts with Br. On the basis of the experimental results of this paper and results from the literature, a simple parametrization for AMDE was included into the Danish Eulerian Hemispheric Model (DEHM). In the model, GEM is converted linearly to reactive gaseous mercury (RGM) over sea ice with temperature below -4 degrees C with a lifetime of 3 or 10 h. The new AMDE parametrization was used together with the general parametrization of mercury chemistry [Petersen, G.; Munthe, J.; Pleijel, K.; Bloxam, R.; Vinod Kumar, A. Atmos. Environ. 1998, 32, 829-843]. The obtained model results were compared with measurements of GEM at Station Nord. There was good agreement between the start and general features periods with AMDEs, although the model could not reproduce the fast concentration changes, and the correlation between modeled and measured values decreased from 2000 to 2001 and further in 2002. The modeled RGM concentrations over the Arctic in 2000 were found to agree well with the temporal and geographical variability of the boundary column of monthly average BrO observed by the GOME satellite. Scenario calculations were performed with and without AMDEs. For the area north of the Polar Circle, the mercury deposition increases from 89 tons/year for calculations without an AMDE to 208 tons/year with the AMDE. The 208 tons/year represent an upper limit for the mercury load to the Artic.
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ABSTRACT: Mercury is one of the most hazardous heavy metals and the mercury contamination is of serious danger for the Arctic environment. Mercury compounds are rather mobile and can easily migrate both to the water and to the air. Mercury is removed most intensively from the atmosphere during the polar springtime (so-called AMDE effect, i.e., the Atmospheric Mercury Depletion Event). This phenomenon was observed from the beginning of the polar sunrise till the end of the snowmelt, i.e., from April to early June. In 2000–2001, the depletion of atmospheric mercury was discovered in the Antarctic. In 2001, the mercury analyzer was installed at Amderma station located on the Yugor Peninsula, and AMDE cases were registered there during the measurements. The study in the Arctic region demonstrated that the effect of mercury depletion is observed at the rather limited space along the coast of the Arctic seas. The activation of AMDE is associated both with the intensive UV-radiation and with such meteorological parameters as temperature, wind speed and humidity in the surface layer that favors the mercury depletion in the atmosphere. This process is typical for the high latitudes only and is observed during about two-three months from the beginning of the polar sunrise until the end of the snowmelt.Russian Meteorology and Hydrology 06/2013; 38(6). · 0.27 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The ongoing regime shift of Arctic sea ice from perennial to seasonal ice is associated with more dynamic patterns of opening and closing sea-ice leads (large transient channels of open water in the ice), which may affect atmospheric and biogeochemical cycles in the Arctic. Mercury and ozone are rapidly removed from the atmospheric boundary layer during depletion events in the Arctic, caused by destruction of ozone along with oxidation of gaseous elemental mercury (Hg(0)) to oxidized mercury (Hg(ii)) in the atmosphere and its subsequent deposition to snow and ice. Ozone depletion events can change the oxidative capacity of the air by affecting atmospheric hydroxyl radical chemistry, whereas atmospheric mercury depletion events can increase the deposition of mercury to the Arctic, some of which can enter ecosystems during snowmelt. Here we present near-surface measurements of atmospheric mercury and ozone from two Arctic field campaigns near Barrow, Alaska. We find that coastal depletion events are directly linked to sea-ice dynamics. A consolidated ice cover facilitates the depletion of Hg(0) and ozone, but these immediately recover to near-background concentrations in the upwind presence of open sea-ice leads. We attribute the rapid recoveries of Hg(0) and ozone to lead-initiated shallow convection in the stable Arctic boundary layer, which mixes Hg(0) and ozone from undepleted air masses aloft. This convective forcing provides additional Hg(0) to the surface layer at a time of active depletion chemistry, where it is subject to renewed oxidation. Future work will need to establish the degree to which large-scale changes in sea-ice dynamics across the Arctic alter ozone chemistry and mercury deposition in fragile Arctic ecosystems.Nature 01/2014; · 38.60 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Bacterial reduction of Hg(2+) to Hg(0) , mediated by the mercuric reductase (MerA), is important in the biogeochemical cycling of Hg in temperate environments. Little is known about the occurrence and diversity of merA in the Arctic. Seven merA determinants were identified amongst bacterial isolates from High Arctic snow, freshwater and sea-ice brine. Three determinants in Bacteriodetes, Firmicutes and Actinobacteria showed < 92% (amino acid) sequence similarity to known merA, while one merA homologue in Alphaproteobacteria and 3 homologues from Betaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria were > 99% similar to known merA's. Phylogenetic analysis showed the Bacteroidetes merA to be part of an early lineage in the mer phylogeny, whereas the Betaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria merA appeared to have evolved recently. Several isolates, in which merA was not detected, were able to reduce Hg(2+) , suggesting presence of unidentified merA genes. About 25% of the isolates contained plasmids, two of which encoded mer-operons. One plasmid was a broad-host-range IncP-α plasmid. No known incompability group could be assigned to the others. The presence of conjugative plasmids, and an incongruent distribution of merA within the taxonomic groups, suggests horizontal transfer of merA as a likely mechanism for High Arctic microbial communities to adapt to changing mercury concentration. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.FEMS Microbiology Ecology 08/2013; · 3.56 Impact Factor