Science News

The concentration of mercury in the fish in Alaska’s Yukon River may exceed the EPA’s human health criterion by 2050 if greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming are not constrained, according to scientific research funded in part by NASA. This first of its kind research estimates potential releases of mercury from thawing permafrost under high and low carbon emissions scenarios. The researchers predict that by 2200, the mercury emitted into both the atmosphere and water annually by thawing permafrost will compare with current global anthropogenic mercury emissions. That’s because higher carbon emissions lead to faster and more atmosphere and water, where it can accumulate in wildlife like fish. The team’s results were published Sept. 16 in Nature Communications.
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