EGU General Assembly 2020

3 May 2020 to 8 May 2020

The General Assembly 2020 of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) is held at the Austria Center Vienna (ACV) in Vienna, Austria, from 3–8 May 2020. The assembly is open to the scientists of all nations.


Mercury and persistent organic pollutants in the ocean
Donata Melaku Canu, Javier Castro Jimenez, Lars-Eric Heimbürger-Boavida, Mario Sprovieri

Abstract submission


We welcome contributions focusing on observations, experiments, and modelling of the mercury (Hg) and POP (persistent organic pollutants) cycles in the estuarine, coastal and ocean environments. Other compartments of the earth system, and related societal, ecosystem and human health impact studies are welcome as well. Combined mercury and POPs as well as coupled observation and modelling approaches are especially welcome. The main objectives of this special session are to further the understanding of the sources and fluxes; the quantification and assessment of the processes; mechanisms driving transfer through the marine trophic web; biogeochemical modeling; effects of climate change and changed emissions scenarios; scenarios of mitigation and adaptation to mercury and POP’s pollution, and impacts on society, ecosystem and human health.




Impacts of anthropogenic pollution on ocean biogeochemistry
Camille Richon, Lars-Eric Heimbürger-Boavida, Charlotte Laufkötter, Susan Little

Abstract submission


Marine anthropogenic pollution is increasingly recognized as a serious issue of global concern with substantial risks for marine ecosystems, fisheries, and food supply to people. Plastic and chemical contaminants are spread on a planetary scale, and may have devastating impacts on marine ecosystems. Yet, they remain poorly studied and much is yet to learn about how plastic and chemical contamination impacts marine nutrient cycles and the lower food chain. In this session, we invite contributions from experimentalists and modellers trying to understand the impacts of plastics as well as chemical contaminants on the biogeochemistry of the oceans. The objective of this session is to share the current research on how the multiple sources of anthropogenic pollution impact marine biogeochemical cycles, such as pollutant leaching from plastics, plastic ingestion by marine animals, and direct contamination of the water by contaminated rivers, aerosols, or submarine groundwater. The session would welcome all techniques, including direct measurements of contaminant fluxes, isotopic or other approaches to tracing contamination, modelling, experimental incubations with contaminants, mesocosm studies and toxicity assessments. We particularly encourage contributions regarding the quantification of sources and fluxes of contaminants to the marine environment, and the effects of this contamination (toxicity from chemical contaminants such as heavy metals or PCBs, effects of plastic ingestion on zooplankton…).




Mercury cycling in the environment – sources, processes, impacts, and archives from local to global scales

Jan G. Wiederhold, Sofi Jonsson, Martin Jiskra, Sophia Hansson
Abstract submission

Mercury (Hg) is a toxic global pollutant of great environmental concern. The UNEP Minamata convention on mercury, a legally-binding international treaty aiming to reduce negative impacts of Hg on the environment, has entered into force in 2017. Anthropogenic activities have altered the global Hg cycle to a great extent and many ecosystems are threatened by exposure to elevated levels of Hg and its different species. For instance, neurotoxic and bioaccumulating methyl-Hg is formed under the influence of anaerobic microorganisms in a variety of natural systems but the controls on this key process are still far from being understood. Further active Hg research areas include exchange processes at the atmosphere-soil-plant interface and their importance for understanding atmospheric Hg deposition, the behavior and long-term fate of Hg at contaminated sites, as well as global cycling models assessing the evolution of historic Hg fluxes from different natural and anthropogenic sources. In the past few years, a number of novel research tools based on microbiological, spectroscopic, isotopic, and modelling techniques have been developed to improve our understanding of Hg cycling in the environment. This session presents new contributions on present-day Hg cycling in the environment using field-based, experimental, and/or modelling approaches on local to global scales, as well as contributions focusing on long- and short-term reconstruction of Hg as a pollutant over time using natural archives such as ice-cores, tree-rings, lake sediments and peat bogs. We particularly welcome research addressing the effects of the implementation of the Minamata convention on mercury levels in the environment and new approaches to assess its effectiveness.

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