Factsheet #3: Mercury

The UNEP Minamata Convention was ratified in August 2017 and aims to protect human health from mercury exposure by reducing anthropogenic, inorganic, mercury emissions. The most toxic and biomagnifying mercury species, methylmercury, is not emitted from anthropogenic or natural sources, but produced in the ocean from inorganic mercury.

A 3D scene showing the distribution of dissolved mercury in the Atlantic. In warm colours (red, orange, etc.) you can view high concentrations of dissolved mercury.

Data

Data is available to download after registration here: https://geotraces.webodv.awi.de/login

Discoveries include:

Loss of old Arctic sea ice increases methylmercury concentrations

Researchers from the SCRIPPS, the Stockholm Natural Museum and the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography show the importance of sea ice composition on methylmercury budgets

Precise estimate of the mercury export from the Arctic to the Atlantic Ocean

Using new observations acquired during GEOTRACES Arctic cruises, a refined arctic mercury budget has been established

Arctic mercury export flux with marine particles higher than anticipated

In the ocean, the residence time of mercury (Hg), is largely driven by two removal mechanisms: evasion to the atmosphere and downward export flux with settling particles. The later was […]

Who produces methylmercury in the global ocean?

The UNEP Minamata Convention was ratified in August 2017 and aims to protect human health from mercury exposure by reducing anthropogenic, inorganic, mercury emissions. The most toxic and biomagnifying mercury […]

Methylmercury subsurface maxima explain mercury accumulation in Canadian Arctic marine mammals

Mercury (Hg) concentrations in Canadian Arctic marine mammals were monitored during the last four decades and found to be highly elevated, frequently exceeding toxicity thresholds. Mercury concentrations in marine biota […]

High production of methylmercury in the anoxic waters of the Black Sea

As part of the GEOTRACES MedBlack cruise, the research vessel Pelagia occupied 12 full-depth stations in the Black Sea along an East-West transect between July 13th and 25th, 2013. In […]

Want to learn more?

Watch the talk of Dr. Katlin Bowman “Mercury biogeochemistry in the Arctic Ocean” given as part of the webinar series “Breaking the Ice Ceiling” organized by a coalition of institutions including The Arctic Institute, Women in Polar Sciences, and Women of the Arctic:

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