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Journal Articles Environmental Science and Technology Year : 2011

Bioavailable Mercury Cycling in Polar Snowpacks


Polar regions are subject to contamination by mercury (Hg) transported from lower latitudes, severely impacting human and animal health. Atmospheric Mercury Depletion Events (AMDEs) are an episodic process by which Hg is transferred from the atmospheric reservoir to arctic snowpacks. The fate of Hg deposited during these events is the subject of numerous studies, but its speciation remains unclear, especially in terms of environmentally relevant forms such as bioavailable mercury (BioHg). Here, using a bacterial mer-lux biosensor, we report the fraction of newly deposited Hg at the surface and at the bottom of the snowpack that is bioavailable. Snow samples were collected over a two-month arctic field campaign in 2008. In surface snow, BioHg is related to atmospheric Hg deposition and snow fall events were shown to contribute to higher proportions of BioHg than AMDEs. Based on our data, AMDEs represent a potential source of 20 ty(-1) of BioHg, while wet and dry deposition pathways may provide 135-225 ty(-1) of BioHg to Arctic surfaces.
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Dates and versions

insu-00604947 , version 1 (30-06-2011)



C. Larose, A. Dommergue, N. Marusczak, Jacques Covès, P. Ferrari, et al.. Bioavailable Mercury Cycling in Polar Snowpacks. Environmental Science and Technology, 2011, 45 (6), pp2150-2156. ⟨10.1021/es103016x⟩. ⟨insu-00604947⟩
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