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Historical variations of mercury stable isotope ratios in arctic glacier firn and ice cores
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
Inuit Circumpolar Council of Canada.
University of Ottawa (Canada).
University of Ottawa (Canada).
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2016 (English)In: Global Biogechemical Cycles, ISSN 1944-9224, Vol. 30Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The concentration and isotopic composition of mercury (Hg) were determined in glacier core samples from Canadian Arctic ice caps dating from pre-industrial to recent time (early 21st century). Mean Hg levels increased from ≤ 0.2 ng L-1 in pre-industrial time to ~0.8-1.2 ng L-1 in the modern industrial era (last ~200 years). Hg accumulated on Arctic ice caps has D199Hg and D201Hg that are higher (~-1 to 2.9 ‰) than previously reported for Arctic snow (mostly < -1 ‰) impacted by atmospheric Hg depletion events, suggesting that these events contribute little to Hg accumulation on ice caps. The range of d202Hg, D199Hg and D201Hg in glacier cores overlaps with that of Arctic Hg0(g) and of seawater in Baffin Bay, but also with that of mid-latitude precipitation and industrial Hg sources, including coal and Hg ores. A core from Agassiz ice cap (80.7 °N) shows a ~+1 ‰ shift in d202Hg over the 19th-20th centuries that could reflect changes in the isotopic composition of the atmospheric Hg pool in the High Arctic in response to growing industrial emissions at lower latitudes. This study is the first ever to report on historical variations of Hg stable isotope ratios in Arctic ice cores. Results could help constrain future modeling efforts of the global Hg biogeochemical cycle and the atmosphere's response to changing Hg emissions, past and future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 30
Keyword [en]
Arctic, mercury, stable isotopes, snow, ice, air pollution
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Earth Science with specialization in Environmental Analysis
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-301492DOI: 10.1002/2016GB005411OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-301492DiVA: diva2:954670
Available from: 2016-08-23 Created: 2016-08-23 Last updated: 2016-09-27

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Zdanowicz, Christian M.
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Department of Earth Sciences
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