A synthesis of atmospheric mercury depletion event chemistry in the atmosphere and snow


It was discovered in 1995 that, during the spring time, unexpectedly low concentrations of gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) occurred in the Arctic air. This was surprising for a pollutant known to have a long residence time in the atmosphere; however conditions appeared to exist in the Arctic that promoted this depletion of mercury (Hg). This phenomenon is termed atmospheric mercury depletion events (AMDEs) and its discovery has revolutionized our understanding of the cycling of Hg in Polar Regions while stimulating a significant amount of research to understand its impact to this fragile ecosystem. Shortly after the discovery was made in Canada, AMDEs were confirmed to occur throughout the Arctic, sub-Artic and Antarctic coasts.
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