GEOSCAN Search Results: Fastlink


TitleA mass balance inventory of mercury in the Arctic Ocean
AuthorOutridge, P M; Macdonald, R W; Wang, F; Stern, G A; Dastoor, A P
SourceEnvironmental Chemistry vol. 5, no. 2, 2008 p. 89-111, (Open Access)
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20080235
PublisherCSIRO Publishing
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceNorthern offshore region
AreaArctic Ocean
Lat/Long WENS-180.0000 180.0000 90.0000 70.0000
Subjectsenvironmental geology; marine geology; pollutants; mercury; environmental studies; environmental analysis; environmental impacts; heavy metals contamination
Illustrationslocation maps; tables; graphs; plots
ProgramEnvironment and Health
AbstractThe present mercury (Hg) mass balance was developed to gain insights into the sources, sinks and processes regulating biological Hg trends in the Arctic Ocean. Annual total Hg inputs (mainly wet deposition, coastal erosion, seawater import, and 'excess' deposition due to atmospheric Hg depletion events) are nearly in balance with outputs (mainly shelf sedimentation and seawater export), with a net 0.3% year -1 increase in total mass. Marine biota represent a small fraction of the ocean's existing total Hg and methyl-Hg (MeHg) inventories. The inertia associated with these large non-biological reservoirs means that 'bottom-up' processes (control of bioavailable Hg concentrations by mass inputs or Hg speciation) are probably incapable of explaining recent biotic Hg trends, contrary to prevailing opinion. Instead, varying rates of bioaccumulation and trophic transfer from the abiotic MeHg reservoir may be key, and are susceptible to ecological, climatic and biogeochemical influences. Deep and sustained cuts to global anthropogenic Hg emissions are required to return biotic Hg levels to their natural state. However, because of mass inertia and the less dominant role of atmospheric inputs, the decline of seawater and biotic Hg concentrations in the Arctic Ocean will be more gradual than the rate of emission reduction and slower than in other oceans and freshwaters. Climate warming has likely already influenced Arctic Hg dynamics, with shrinking sea-ice cover one of the defining variables. Future warming will probably force more Hg out of the ocean's euphotic zone through greater evasion to air and faster Hg sedimentation driven by higher primary productivity; these losses will be countered by enhanced inputs from coastal erosion and rivers.