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

Discoveries include:

After the Mediterranean Sea one, don’t miss the Arctic present-day total mercury mass balance!

They provide an updated mass balance of the Arctic land and ocean mercury cycle.

All what you wanted to know about mercury in the Mediterranean Sea…

Cossa and his co-workers summarized a critical review on the mercury budget, fate and health consequences in the Mediterranean Sea.

Mercury stable isotopes constrain atmospheric pathways to the ocean

The study’s results hold promise that the implementation of anti-pollution measures under the Minamata Convention will likely result in a faster decrease of oceanic mercury levels than previously thought.

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 […]

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: