Shrinking Arctic Ice May Cause Mercury Poisoning

Sat, 2012-05-26 12:00Evan Leeson
Evan Leeson's picture

Shrinking Arctic Ice May Cause Mercury Poisoning

Arctic ice cap shrinkage over 32 years

NASA has shown repeatedly that the Actic icecap is melting, and melting faster than climate models predict. This new visualization is stark and should be of obvious concern, simply because of the impact on sea levels. Now there is a potentially new threat. The process of shrinkage may cause a chemical reaction that could poison the Arctic ecosystem with mercury.

The disappearance of old, thick ice in the Arctic means an increase in bromine released into the atmosphere. The new, thinner ice has more salt and this is where the bromine comes from. As it melts it interacts with relatively benign gaseous mercury causing it to solidify and fall in a toxic form to the ground and into ocean water. The old old ice has less salt.

Image source: NASA

it is currently popular in denier circles to tout the April 2012 ice sheet extension as a sign of slowing of Arctic ice melt. This grasping at straws is not supported by the overall data, which shows Acrtic ice disappearance increasing. The April extent is mainly thinner, new ice that will easily melt, potentially causing the “bromine explosiion” described by NASA. The old, thicker icecap is shrinking more rapidly as time passes, and with it, the benign melting of salt-depleted ice.

Comments

One wonders how deniers reconcile with the evidence, but come up with there is nothing happening in the arctic that is worthy of concern.

Just saw an interesting 'pro-coal' commercial on tv this afternoon.

While blaming the EPA for being too restrictive on energy sources, they ended with the tag line;

"Let's not add 'pain at the switch' to our 'pain a the pump' "

Very creative, haha!

How does that relate to the arctic again Chas?

 

 

Chas... what you guys need to do is subsidize coal and oil a lot more like we do in Alberta

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Sea ice in the Arctic Circle is currently melting at a pace far greater than scientists had originally projected.  While this is bad news for the planet — sea ice helps reflect the sun’s rays and keeps the arctic cooler — it has created new paths for the oil industry to exploit the resources hidden deep under the icy water.

Drilling...

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