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Total mercury, bulk density, percent organic matter, and percent organic carbon measured in permafrost cores collected from 2004 through 2012 from the interior and northern slope of Alaska

Dates

Publication Date
Start Date
2004
End Date
2012

Citation

Schuster, P.F., 2018, Total mercury, bulk density, percent organic matter, and percent organic carbon measured in permafrost cores from the interior and northern slope of Alaska and previously published studies: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7NC5Z9T.

Summary

The "MasterDB-csv-final2" dataset includes 548 laboratory measurements of sediment total mercury (STHg, nanograms per gram of soil, dry), bulk density (BD, grams per cm3 of soil, dry), percent of soil organic matter (%OM, loss on ignition, LOI), percent of soil organic carbon (%SOC, calculated using the Redfield's number), RHgC (Hg to carbon ratio), and age (YBP) from 13 permafrost cores collected from 2004 to 2012 in the interoir and northern slope of Alaska by trained personnel from the U.S. Geological Survey National Research Program and the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

Contacts

Point of Contact :
Paul F Schuster
Originator :
Paul F Schuster
Metadata Contact :
Paul F Schuster
Distributor :
U.S. Geological Survey - ScienceBase

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MasterDB-csv-final2.csv 65.68 KB

Purpose

Changing climate in northern regions is causing permafrost to thaw with major implications for the cycling of mercury in arctic and subarctic ecosystems. Permafrost occurs in nearly one quarter of the Earth’s northern land mass and an estimated 13 percent of Earth’s entire land surface. Large-scale thaw will release Hg currently frozen in permafrost, impacting aquatic resources and posing a serious threat to human health. We measured sediment total Hg concentration in 548 samples from 13 permafrost cores from the interior and the North Slope of Alaska. Based on these samples, here we estimate the mass of frozen mercury in northern hemisphere permafrost to be 793 ± 461 Gg (Gigatons), roughly equal to the total global mass of mercury in thawed soils. Projections indicate substantial permafrost thawing leading to peak annual mercury releases exceeding current total annual anthropogenic emissions of mercury. This data is available to stakeholders and resource managers to aid in policy-making decisions in regard to mercury contamination in the environment This published dataset supports our dataset and resulting publication. These data are available to stakeholders and resource managers to aid in policy-making decisions in regard to mercury contamination in the environment.

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