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TitleMercury in the Canadian Arctic terrestrial environment: an update
AuthorGamberg, M; Chételat, J; Poulain, A J; Zdanowicz, C; Zheng, J
SourceScience of the Total Environment vol. 509-510, 2015 p. 28-40, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.04.070
Year2015
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20140130
PublisherElsevier
Documentserial
Lang.English
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceNunavut; Northwest Territories
NTS15; 16; 25; 26; 27; 36; 37; 38; 39; 120; 340; 560; 46; 47; 48; 49; 56; 57; 58; 59; 66; 67; 68; 69; 76; 77; 78; 79; 86; 87; 88; 89; 97; 98; 99
AreaCanadian Arctic; Ellesmere Island; Devon Island; Baffin Island
Lat/Long WENS-128.0000 -56.0000 85.0000 61.0000
Subjectsenvironmental geology; mercury; mercury geochemistry; pollutants; heavy metals contamination; snow; glaciers; vegetation
Illustrationsdrawings; plots; graphs; tables; location maps
Programenvironmental impacts and adaptation in the northern environment, Environmental Geoscience
AbstractContaminants in the Canadian Arctic have been studied over the last twenty years under the guidance of the Northern Contaminants Program. This paper provides the current state of knowledge on mercury (Hg) in the Canadian Arctic terrestrial environment. Snow, ice, and soils on land are key reservoirs for atmospheric deposition and, in turn, can become sources of mercury (Hg) through the melting of terrestrial ice and snow and via soil erosion. In the Canadian Arctic, new data have been collected for snow and ice that provide more information on the flux of Hg to the cryosphere and its post-depositional fate. Terrestrial snow total Hg (THg) concentrations are highly variable but on average, relatively low, while methylmercury (MeHg) levels in Arctic snow are lower still. Hg in snow may be affected by proximity to marine aerosols (and halogens), burial and redistribution within the snow pack. On average, THg concentrations on Arctic glaciers of eastern Canada are much lower than those reported in Arctic snow. Regional accumulation rates of THg in glacier snow varied little during the past century but show evidence of an increasing north-to-south gradient. Temporal trends of THg in glacier cores indicate an abrupt increase in the early 1990s followed by more stable levels. Reasons for the sustained higher THg concentrations are unclear. Although Arctic soils typically had low THg concentrations, the flux of Hg from coastal erosion of permafrost soils is a significant source to the Arctic Ocean. Terrestrial Arctic wildlife typically have low levels of Hg, caribou (Rangifer tarandus) usually having the highest because they consume large amounts of lichen. Frequent monitoring of the Yukon's Porcupine caribou herd indicates that THg concentrations vary among years but there has been no significant increase or decrease over the last two decades.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Contaminants in the Canadian Arctic have been studied over the last twenty years. This paper provides the current state of knowledge on mercury (Hg) in the Canadian Arctic terrestrial environment. This update summarized the significant advances were achieved in understanding of dynamics of Hg in terrestrial environments of the Canadian Arctic. Total mercury (THg) and methyl mercury (MeHg) are found at generally low levels within Arctic terrestrial environments, with the exception of lowland coastal areas where high snow THg concentrations may result from atmospheric mercury depletion events (AMDEs). Water-logged Arctic soils have the potential to methylate mercury and the coastal erosion of permafrost is a significant source of Hg to the Arctic Ocean. Frequent monitoring of the Yukon¿s Porcupine caribou herd indicates that THg concentrations vary among years but there has been no significant increase or decrease over the last two decades.
GEOSCAN ID294849