Toxic mercury, accumulating in the Arctic, springs from a hidden source
Posted: 21 May 2012 07:41 AM PDT
Environmental scientists have discovered that the Arctic accumulation of mercury, a toxic element, is caused by both atmospheric forces and the flow of circumpolar rivers that carry the element north into the Arctic Ocean. While the atmospheric source was previously recognized, it now appears that twice as much mercury actually comes from the rivers. The revelation implies that concentrations of the toxin may further increase as climate change continues to modify the region’s hydrological cycle and release mercury from warming Arctic soils.