Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Arctic Contamination: Mercury In Mackenzie River Delta Dramatically Higher Than Previously Believed

Date:
June 18, 2009
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
Researchers conducting a water study in the Mackenzie River Delta have found a dramatically higher delivery of mercury from the Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean than determined in previous studies.

University of Alberta researchers conducting a water study in the Mackenzie River Delta have found a dramatically higher delivery of mercury from the Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean than determined in previous studies.

Researcher Jennifer Graydon analyzed water in the Mackenzie River as it flowed north into the Beaufort Sea. She collected samples for three months and discovered the total amount of mercury exported from the river during that three-month period was equal to an entire year's worth of mercury calculated in previous studies.

Graydon's research and previous studies measured export of all chemical forms of mercury in water including methyl mercury.

"Methyl mercury is a neurotoxin and it's primarily passed on to humans through contaminated fish muscle," Graydon said. "This leaves northern communities vulnerable, because a large part of their diet is Arctic fish species and Beluga whales." Gradyon says existing studies already show Beluga whales in the western Arctic have higher mercury levels in their flesh than Belugas in the eastern Arctic. The Mackenzie River empties in the Beaufort Sea at the western edge of the Northwest Territories.

Graydon's new estimates were confined to the three months the research team spent on the delta while previous research used data to model mercury export over the course of an entire year.

"Previous annual mercury delivery estimates are premature because of the understudied effects of spring ice-jamming and of 45,000 delta lakes," said Graydon. "That influence water chemistry as the Mackenzie River passes through the delta."

"There are very few point sources for mercury in the Arctic," said Graydon. "Mercury is a metal that undergoes long range transport so the Arctic is getting mercury from a global pool." Graydon says the biggest contributor of man-made mercury pollution is coal-fired power production.

This summer U of A researchers will return to the Mackenzie region after it floods to study mercury levels in the thousands of lakes in the delta when flooded by the river. Graydon's Mackenzie River research was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment earlier this year.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Arctic Contamination: Mercury In Mackenzie River Delta Dramatically Higher Than Previously Believed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090616133934.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2009, June 18). Arctic Contamination: Mercury In Mackenzie River Delta Dramatically Higher Than Previously Believed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090616133934.htm
University of Alberta. "Arctic Contamination: Mercury In Mackenzie River Delta Dramatically Higher Than Previously Believed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090616133934.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers

California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) — California's record drought is hurting honey supplies and raising prices for consumers. The lack of rainfall means fewer crops and wildflowers that provide the nectar bees need to make honey. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Species Found In Lake Under Antarctic Ice

Thousands Of Species Found In Lake Under Antarctic Ice

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A U.S. team found nearly 4,000 species in a subglacial lake that hasn't seen sunlight in millennia, showing life can thrive even under the ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — Poachers have killed 100,000 elephants between 2010 and 2012, as the booming ivory trade takes its toll on the animals in Africa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins