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Seasonal impact of vegetation on atmospheric elemental mercury dry deposition

Applicant Jiskra Martin
Number 174101
Funding scheme Ambizione
Research institution Institut für Umweltgeowissenschaften Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021
Approved amount 893'105.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Geochemistry

Keywords (6)

Isotopes; Deposition; Europe; Atmosphere; Mercury; Vegetation

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Quecksilber (Hg) ist ein Schadstoff von globaler Bedeutung für die Gesundheit von Mensch und Ökosystemen. Quecksilber wird hauptsächlich aus anthropogenen Quellen in Form von gasförmigem elementaren Hg(0) in die Atmosphäre emittiert. In der Atmosphäre verteilt sich Hg(0) rund um den Globus bevor es schlussendlich wieder auf der Erdoberfläche deponiert wird, wo es sich in der Nahrungskette anreichern kann. Die internationale Minamata Konvention über Quecksilber, die 2017 in Kraft tritt, hat zum Ziel anthropogene Hg Emissionen zu reduzieren und dadurch die Risiken für Mensch und Umwelt zu senken. Um den Effekt von reduzierten Hg Emissionen auf die Quecksilberkonzentrationen in der Umwelt vorhersagen zu können, muss man den globalen Quecksilberkreislauf verstehen. Heute bestehen jedoch noch grosse Wissenslücken darüber, wie und wo Quecksilber aus der Atmosphäre zurück auf die Erdoberfläche gelangen.
Lay summary

Das Ziel unseres Forschungsprojekts ist, die Aufnahme von Hg(0) aus der Atmosphäre durch Pflanzen zu untersuchen und die Auswirkungen dieses Prozesses auf den globalen Quecksilberkreislauf zu verstehen. Bisher war die allgemeine Forschungmeinung, das Hg(0) in der Atmosphäre oxidiert wird und diese oxidierte Form (Hg(II)) mit dem Regen auf die Erdoberfläche gewaschen wird. Jüngste Studien basierend auf stabilen Isotopenanalysen haben jedoch gezeigt, dass die direkte Aufnahme von Hg(0) durch Pflanzen einen wichtigen bisher unterschätzten Depositionsprozess darstellt. In diesem Forschungsprojekt werden wir (i) Fingerabdrücke in Form von stabilen Isotopensignaturen analysieren um den Effekt von der Pflanzenaufnahme auf die Hg(0) Konzentrationen in der Atmosphäre zu verstehen, (ii) den Fluss von Hg(0) in die Pflanzen quantifizieren, und (iii) den Prozess der Hg(0) Aufnahme durch Pflanzen in globale Hg Modelle implementieren.

Dieses Forschungsprojekt wird zum ersten Mal quantitative Erkenntnisse über die Auswirkung von Hg(0) Aufnahme durch Pflanzen auf atmosphärische Quecksilberkonzentrationen liefern. Die Resultate werden dazu beitragen bestehende Unsicherheiten in der Deposition von Quecksilber auf die Erdoberfläche zu reduzieren und dadurch eine besseren Implementierung der Minamata Konvention ermöglichen.

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 25.08.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Experimental rainwater divalent mercury speciation and photoreduction rates in the presence of halides and organic carbon
Yang Xu, Jiskra Martin, Sonke Jeroen E. (2019), Experimental rainwater divalent mercury speciation and photoreduction rates in the presence of halides and organic carbon, in Science of The Total Environment, 697, 133821-133821.
Insights from mercury stable isotopes on terrestrial–atmosphere exchange of Hg(0) in the Arctic tundra
Jiskra Martin, Sonke Jeroen E., Agnan Yannick, Helmig Detlev, Obrist Daniel (2019), Insights from mercury stable isotopes on terrestrial–atmosphere exchange of Hg(0) in the Arctic tundra, in Biogeosciences, 16(20), 4051-4064.
Mercury in tundra vegetation of Alaska: Spatial and temporal dynamics and stable isotope patterns
Olson Christine L., Jiskra Martin, Sonke Jeroen E., Obrist Daniel (2019), Mercury in tundra vegetation of Alaska: Spatial and temporal dynamics and stable isotope patterns, in Science of The Total Environment, 660, 1502-1512.
Automated Stable Isotope Sampling of Gaseous Elemental Mercury (ISO-GEM): Insights into GEM Emissions from Building Surfaces
Jiskra Martin, Marusczak Nicolas, Leung Kin-Hung, Hawkins Lucas, Prestbo Eric, Sonke Jeroen E. (2019), Automated Stable Isotope Sampling of Gaseous Elemental Mercury (ISO-GEM): Insights into GEM Emissions from Building Surfaces, in Environmental Science & Technology, 53(8), 4346-4354.
A vegetation control on seasonal variations in global atmospheric mercury concentration
Jiskra Martin, Sonke Jeroen, Obrist Daniel, Bieser Johannes, Ebinghaus Johannes, Myhre Cathrine, Pfaffhuber Katrine, Wängberg Ingvar, Kyllönen Katriina, Worthy Doug, Martin Lynwill, Labuschagne Casper, Mkololo Thumeka, Ramonet Michel, Magand Olivier, Dommergue Aurélien (2018), A vegetation control on seasonal variations in global atmospheric mercury concentration, in Nature Geoscience, 244-250.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Langfristige Wald­öko­system­forschung LWF / Wald, Schnee und Landschaft WSL Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Geosciences Environment Toulouse, CNRS/IRD/UPS France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Bundesforschungszetrum für Wald BFW Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Grassland Sciences Group/ ETH Zurich, Schweiz Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL) Sweden (Europe)
- Research Infrastructure
Isotope Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry, Earth Sciences, ETH Zurich Switzerland (Europe)
- Research Infrastructure
Biogeochemistry of global Contaminants, Harvard University United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Physiological Plant Ecology, Environmental Sciences Uni Basel (Head A. Kahmen) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) Finland (Europe)
- Research Infrastructure
German Environmental Agency (UBA) Germany (Europe)
- Research Infrastructure
Atmospheric Sciences, Environmental Sciences Uni Basel (Head M. Kalberer) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
17th Swiss Geoscience Meeting Poster First Eddy covariance flux measurements of gaseous elemental mercury over natural surfaces 23.11.2019 Fribourg, Switzerland Jiskra Martin;
17th Swiss Geoscience Meeting Talk given at a conference Source attribution of mercury in freshwater fish using mercury stable isotopes 23.11.2019 Fribourg, Switzerland Jiskra Martin;
soil science colloquium, University of Bern Individual talk Insights into terrestrial mercury cycling from stable mercury isotopes 15.10.2019 Bern, Switzerland Jiskra Martin;
14th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant Talk given at a conference Using mercury isotopes to unravel methylmercury source origin and distribution in tuna from the south western Pacific Ocean 08.09.2019 Krakow, Poland Jiskra Martin;
14th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant Talk given at a conference Increased methylation of Hg(II) in hillslope soils after forest harvest – An important contributor to boreal surface water methylmercury load 08.09.2019 Krakow, Poland Jiskra Martin;
14th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant Poster Experimental rainwater Hg speciation and photoreduction rates in the presence of halogens and organic carbon 08.09.2019 Krakow, Poland Jiskra Martin;
14th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant Talk given at a conference Plenary presentation on Terrestrial mercury cycling in a changing environment 08.09.2019 Krakow, Poland Jiskra Martin;
14th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant Poster Assessment of the vegetation uptake of atmospheric mercury across Europe 08.09.2019 Krakow, Poland Jiskra Martin; Wohlgemuth Lena;
14th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant Poster First Eddy covariance flux measurements of gaseous elemental mercury over natural surfaces 08.09.2019 Krakow, Poland Jiskra Martin;
16th Swiss Geoscience Meeting Talk given at a conference Effects of the vegetation mercury pump on seasonal variations in atmospheric mercury concentrations 30.11.2018 Bern, Switzerland Jiskra Martin;
MISTRALS Pollution & Contaminants workshop Talk given at a conference Some of the ins and outs of Mercury in the Mediterranean Atmosphere 19.11.2018 Marseille, France Jiskra Martin;
National Atmospheric Deposition Program – 2018 Scientific Symposium and Fall Meeting Talk given at a conference Gaseous deposition of atmospheric elemental mercury in ecosystems - what we know and what is missing 05.11.2018 Albany, United States of America Jiskra Martin;
Polar2018 Poster Terrestrial - Atmosphere Mercury Exchange in the Arctic Tundra 19.06.2018 Davos, Switzerland Jiskra Martin;
7th ICP Forests Scientific Conference Poster Assessment of Hg pool in European foliage 21.05.2018 Riga, Latvia Jiskra Martin; Wohlgemuth Lena;
European Geoscience Union (EGU) General Assembly 2018 Talk given at a conference Atmospheric mercury deposition to a Holocene sediment record of Lake Titicaca investigated by Hg stable isotopes 09.04.2018 Wien, Austria Jiskra Martin;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
35. Treffen des AK Umweltmonitoring der Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh) Talk 15.10.2019 Berlin, Germany Wohlgemuth Lena;
ICP Forests Meeting of the Expert Panels Talk 25.03.2019 Brüssel, Belgium Wohlgemuth Lena;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Kommunikation von Forschunsalltag, Forschungsergebnisssen und allgemeinen Themen Twitter International 2018
Media relations: print media, online media Pflanzen speichern Quecksilber Wissenschaft.De International 2018

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
170176 Linkage between deposition and air-surface exchange of mercury in forest ecosystems: a comparative study between Switzerland and China 01.01.2017 Bilateral programmes

Abstract

Mercury (Hg) is a global pollutant of great concern for human and ecosystem health. The UNEP Minamata Convention on Hg aims to curb global anthropogenic Hg emissions, yet has to balance economic and environmental interests. Major knowledge gaps on the role of terrestrial surfaces in the complex global Hg cycling however hamper a science-based assessment of Hg emission reduction scenarios. This in turn undermines the effectiveness of the UNEP Minamata Convention and calls for new scientific approaches to address this prevailing uncertainty associated with terrestrial Hg cycling.The current paradigm suggests that anthropogenic gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) emissions are oxidized in the atmosphere to reactive HgII forms before depositing through rain, snow and dust to Earth surfaces. Hg stable isotope fingerprint studies however revealed that Hg in continental vegetation and soils corresponds to the isotopic fingerprints of GEM rather than HgII in precipitation. There is now increasing evidence that GEM uptake by vegetation represents a massive, overlooked deposition pathway. The latter would imply that vegetation as a GEM pump could significantly affect the GEM lifetime in the atmosphere and change our understanding of global atmospheric Hg cycling. The goal of this project is to resolve this apparent paradox and better understand the importance of GEM uptake by vegetation relative to HgII deposition by rain and snowfall.The short-term balance between Hg deposition and (re)-emission processes governs the seasonal GEM variations. In Europe, GEM concentrations peak in wintertime and are generally attributed to higher anthropogenic GEM emissions from fossil fuel burning in winter. This conclusion is however unconstrained and seasonal variations in GEM deposition (e.g. less plant uptake during the winter) or oxidation processes have been suggested as alternative explanations. This project aims to assess the impact of GEM uptake by vegetation on global Hg cycling and quantify this unconstrained flux to terrestrial ecosystems using a combination of novel stable Hg isotope analysis, remote sensing data and modeling approaches. The objectives are to:(1)Understand the processes controlling seasonal GEM variation by investigating the isotopic fingerprint of GEM at six European sites to differentiate between the role of foliar GEM uptake and primary anthropogenic GEM emissions.(2)Quantify the flux of GEM uptake by foliage and assess its relevance for total Hg deposition in comparison to HgII wet deposition for continental Europe by analyzing seasonal evolution and spatial variability of the Hg pool in foliage at 10 sites along a transect through Europe.(3)Assess the magnitude of the foliar GEM uptake flux for Europe by extrapolating the site-based measurements to a continental scale using satelite-based remote sensing data on vegetation coverage.(4)Improve the parameterization of foliar GEM uptake in global mercury models and to quantify the global foliar GEM uptake flux with a global isotope mass balance. This project will provide for the first time quantitative insights on the seasonality of GEM uptake by vegetation on a continental and global scale. The results will lead to a substantial reduction of current uncertainties associated with terrestrial Hg fluxes and will improve the implementation of the Minamata convention.
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