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Dynamic Oxidation of Gaseous Mercury in the Arctic Troposphere at Polar Sunrise

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Abstract: Gaseous elemental mercury (Hg0) is a globally distributed air toxin with a long atmospheric residence time. Any process that reduces it atmospheric lifetime increases its potential accumulation in the biosphere. Our data from Barrow, AK, at 71 N show that rapid, photochemically driven oxidation of boundary-layer Hg0 after polar sunrise, probably by reactive halogens, creates a rapidly depositing species of oxidized gaseous mercury in the remote Arctic troposphere at concentrations in excess of 900 pg m-3. The mercury accumulates in the snowpack during polar spring at an accelerated rate in a from that is bioavailable to bacteria and is released with snowmelt during the summer emergence of the Arctic ecosystem. Evidence suggests that this is a recent phenomenon that may be occurring throughout the earth's polar regions.
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Citation:Lindberg, S. E., S. Brooks, C. J. Lin, K. J. Scott, M. S. Landis, R. K. Stevens, M. Goodsite, and A. Richter. Dynamic Oxidation of Gaseous Mercury in the Arctic Troposphere at Polar Sunrise. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 36(6):1245-1256, (2002).
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Contact: Liz Hope - (919) 541-2785 or hope.elizabeth@epa.gov
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Division: Human Exposure & Atmospheric Sciences Division
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Branch: Source Apportionment & Characterization Branch
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Product Type: Journal
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Published: 02/13/2002
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Atmospheric Mercury Research
spacer Relationship Reason:   A Project of the Product
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