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Year: 2020
Project manager: Hans Fredrik Veiteberg Braaten
Project code: 472 712019

The project will produce a scientific paper titled Mercury in the Barents region – a review of terrestrial sources, river fluxes, and environmental effects, that will be submitted to an international peer-reviewed journal. The paper will cover i) an in-depth investigation of terrestrial anthropogenic sources (e.g. mining and paper industry) of mercury in the Barents region relevant for the Barents Sea, ii) an estimation of riverine fluxes of mercury to the Barents Sea, and iii) an evaluation of potential effects from mercury on the environment (i.e. fish and other biota in the region). Specifically, the data will come from existing and previous projects led by the applicants, including the ongoing NIVA-led MERBAR project (funded by The Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment for the period 2019-2021). Empirical knowledge of riverine mercury concentrations and fluxes will be produced from the MERBAR project, including major rivers draining to the Barents Sea: Målselv, Alta, Tana, Neiden, and Pasvik in Norway; and Tuloma, Niva, and Northern Dvina in Russia. The present initiative will bring information from several initiatives together with data from available literature, to give an estimate of annual riverine mercury export to the Barents Sea from various anthropogenic sources, and to evaluate the environmental impact from this mercury pollution. The project results will make an important contribution to the Fram Centre Theme 3, by investigating how releases from industry and urbanisation in the region potentially affect Arctic ecosystems.

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