Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
Mercury and ozone depletion events in the Arctic linked to sea-ice dynamics
Image From: http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/quickfacts/seaice.html
Dr. Moore and Obrist of Nevada's Desert Research Institute found a relationship between sea-ice and ozone depletion events that can greatly damage the Arctic ecosystems.
Large cracks in the ice expose warmer seawater to cooler atmosphere, creating a pumping effect that causes atmospheric depletion events. The destruction of ozone and this pumping event allows mercury from a higher layer of atmosphere to be pulled to the surface.
Normally, mercury is removed from the system naturally, but when this extra mercury is added, it creates a cycle that allows the harmful mercury to be deposited into the ice during snowmelt. This addition of mercury can be compared to the equilibrium equation we learned about in the module known as the chapman cycle, although they are not quite the same and involve different elements.
Now that we know about this relationship between the atmosphere, ozone depletion and sea-ice, further research will help establish the impact of these events on the earth.