An explorative study of mercury export from a thawing palsa mire

Jonatan Klaminder, Kyungsoo Yoo, Johan Rydberg, Reiner Giesler

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42 Scopus citations


Thawing of permafrost and a subsequent accelerated loss of mercury from the soil constitute a possible threat to the quality of high-latitude surface waters. In this paper we estimate the export of mercury generated by a thawing palsa mire in northern Sweden, by assessing net mercury storage changes along thermokarst erosion gradients. Lower mercury inventories in inundated hummocks covered by water (≤3.1 mg Hg m-2) than in noneroding hummocks (between 5.5 and 8 mg Hg m-2) suggests a release of ∼40-95% of the mercury pool from hummock peat experiencing subsidence and submerging. The documented expansion of submerged areas between 1970 and 2000 in the studied system indicates that permafrost thawing has initiated a mobilization of 34 to 50 g mercury. We stress the need of further assessing the fate of this mercury because the size of the mobilized mercury pool might be highly significant for subarctic surface waters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberG04034
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 28 2008


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