Modeling Global Hg Biogeochemistry

Global 3-D modeling of atmospheric mercury and its coupling to the ocean and land: Impacts of past and future anthropogenic emissions


Co-PIs: Daniel J. Jacob and Elsie M. Sunderland

People: Helen AmosBess S. CorbittHannah Horowitz

Support: NSF Atmospheric Chemistry Program


This project is continuing the development, evaluation and application of a global 3-D biogeochemical model for mercury based on the GEOS-Chem atmospheric chemical transport model (CTM). Uncertainties in mercury modeling are large, and extensive evaluation of the model with observations are being conducted to test and improve model representations of processes. This research will produce a fully coupled global 3-D model for mercury cycling in the land-atmosphere-ocean system. It will allow investigation of the response of oceans and terrestrial systems to changes in anthropogenic mercury emissions over historical times and in the future. It will also provide a platform for future work examining (1) the potentially large impacts of climate change on the global mercury cycle, and (2) the link between the global cycle of mercury and that of methylmercury, which is the form that biomagnifies in food-webs.





E.S. Corbitt, D.J. Jacob, C.D. Holmes, D.G. Streets, E.M. Sunderland. 2011. Global source-receptor relationships for mercury deposition under present-day and 2050 emissions scenarios. Environmental Science and Technology, 45(24), 10477-10484 [pdf].

D.G. Streets, M.K. Devane, Z. Lu, T.C. Bond, E.M. Sunderland, D.J. Jacob. 2011. All-time releases of mercury to the atmosphere from human activities. Environmental Science and Technology, 45(24), 10485-10491 [pdf].

N.V. Smith-Downey, E.M. Sunderland, and D.J. Jacob. 2010. Anthropogenic impacts on global storage and emission of mercury from terrestrial soils: Insights from a new global model. Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences, 115, G03008 [pdf].

A.L. Soerensen, E.M. Sunderland, C.D. Holmes, D.J. Jacob, H. Skov, S.A. Strode, J. Christensen, R.P. Mason. 2010. An improved global model for air-sea exchange of mercury: High concentrations over the North Atlantic. Environmental Science and Technology, 44(22): 8574-8580 [pdf].