News Release: How Global Change Will Impact Mercury Around the World
From the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS):
“Rising global temperatures and changing human actions will significantly affect the behavior and distribution of mercury worldwide, according to a recent article by the U.S. Geological Survey and Harvard University. …
“Several seemingly unconnected aspects of climate change are expected to affect mercury at the global scale, according to the article. … In most climate change scenarios, storms will be less frequent but more intense, resulting in larger amounts of mercury being released from the soil through erosion that may end up in rivers, lakes and oceans, the study said. When mercury reaches these surface waters, it can be processed by naturally occurring bacteria into the neuro-toxic methylmercury.
“In addition, the article explained that climate change will likely lead to more frequent and intense forest fires, which release mercury from relatively stable and safe storage in the soil and allow it to be transported downwind and then redeposited and possibly converted into methylmercury.”