Reports

Sea-Air Partitioning of Mercury in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean

Science  07 Mar 1986:
Vol. 231, Issue 4742, pp. 1131-1133
DOI: 10.1126/science.231.4742.1131

Abstract

The partitioning of gaseous mercury between the atmosphere and surface waters was determined in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The highest concentrations of dissolved gaseous mercury occurred in cooler, nutrient-rich waters that characterize equatorial upwelling and increased biological productivity at the sea surface. The surface waters were supersaturated with respect to elemental mercury; a significant flux of elemental mercury to the atmosphere is predicted for the equatorial Pacific. When normalized to primary production on a global basis, the ocean effluxes of mercury may rival anthropogenic emissions of mercury to the atmosphere.

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