"Arctic Sea Ice Gaps Drive Toxic Mercury Conveyor Belt"

"Gaps forming in seasonal Arctic sea ice may be creating a toxic conveyor belt, drawing mercury from higher altitudes to rain down on the ice, snow and tundra, according to a new study."

"The gaps, which come as the region shifts from perennial ice to thinner seasonal ice due to climate change, drive convection currents in the lower atmosphere that cycle mercury and ozone from higher levels toward Earth’s surface, where oxidation converts the mercury into a more toxic form, according to the study published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.

“Most atmospheric mercury is in elemental form, but it can be converted to an oxidized form, and this oxidized form is much more reactive, and this will deposit out of the atmosphere very quickly,” said atmospheric scientist Christopher W. Moore of the Desert Research Institute in Reno, lead author of the paper."

Geoffrey Mohan reports for the Los Angeles Times January 15, 2014,

Source: LA Times, 01/16/2014