J. Phys. IV France
Volume 107, May 2003
Page(s) 45 - 48

J. Phys. IV France
107 (2003) 45
DOI: 10.1051/jp4:20030239

Behavior of mercury in snow from different latitudes

M. Amyot1, J.D. Lalonde2, P.A. Ariya3 and A. Dastoor4

1  Département des Sciences Biologiques, D223, Pavillon Marie-Victorin, Université de Montréal, 90 Vincent d'Indy, Montréal H2V 2S9, Canada
2  Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS), Eau, Terre et Environnement, Université du Québec, 2800 rue Einstein, CP. 7500, Sainte-Foy, Québec G1V 4C7, Canada
3  Departments of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, and Chemistry, McGill University, 801 Sherbrooke St. W, Montréal PQ H3A 2K6, Canada
4  Air Quality Research Branch, Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment Canada, 2121 route Transcanadienne, Dorval, Québec H9P 1J3, Canada

Deposition of Hg via snow fall may represent an important Hg flux to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem of temperate and polar regions. We have conducted a series of field and laboratory experiments to better understand the post-depositional behaviour of Hg in snow. We found that: 1) a significant portion of the snow-to-air Hg evasion results from photoreduction of Hg in snow; 2) this photoreduction is mainly driven by UV-B radiation; 3) this photoreduction can be observed even in the presence of halogens in the snow, although we further found that these halogens favour the reverse photooxidation reaction; 4) laboratory experiments show that this photoreduction is likely mediated by organic reducing agents found in the snow matrix. These data will be incorporated in a global/regional Hg model. We propose that Hg falling inland in temperate and Arctic areas could be more rapidly re-emitted than Hg falling in coastal Arctic areas (where mercury depletion events occur).

© EDP Sciences 2003