Making sense of science

Mercury in the Air

12.13.2019, by
Invisible, and yet everywhere. Mercury is present in the atmosphere, oceans, and even in our plates! Since the adoption of the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2013, 128 countries have been striving to limit the spread of this pollutant. However, the complex dynamics of mercury—which passes from the environment to living beings before potentially being released again into the environment—remain poorly understood.

The study of this process in a tropical environment was recently conducted by the Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement at the Maido Observatory on Reunion Island.

Environment observatory on the island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean
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Engineer installing an atmospheric mercury detector
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Engineer installing a mercury detector on a tree
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Close up shot of hands removing a filter from a mercury detector
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Engineer injecting mercury vapors into a detector for calibration.
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Graphic showing the evolution of mercury in the atmosphere during a year
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