Mercury science to inform international policy: the Multi-Compartment Hg Modeling and Analysis Project (MCHgMAP) and other research (GMD/ACP/BG inter-journal SI)(GMD/ACP/BG inter-journal SI)
Mercury science to inform international policy: the Multi-Compartment Hg Modeling and Analysis Project (MCHgMAP) and other research (GMD/ACP/BG inter-journal SI)(GMD/ACP/BG inter-journal SI)
Editor(s): David McLagan (Queen's University, Canada), Ashu Dastoor (Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canada), Johannes Bieser (Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, Germany), Celia Chen (Dartmouth, Department of Biological Sciences, USA), Jane Kirk (Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canada), Adrien Mestrot (Institute of Geography, Switzerland), Anne L. Soerensen (Swedish Museum of Natural History, Sweden), and Xun Wang (Institute of Geochemistry, China) Special issue jointly organized between Geoscientific Model Development, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, and Biogeosciences

Mercury (Hg) is a chemical pollutant of human health concern worldwide; a consequence of anthropogenic activities; and the focus of the Minamata Convention on Mercury (MC;, an international treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. The MC entered into force on 16 August 2017 and committed to limiting the use and environmental release of mercury. Also, the 1998 Protocol on Heavy Metals of the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) commits parties to mitigating emissions of mercury (as well as cadmium and lead) from a variety of point sources and provides guidance on mitigating emissions associated with heavy metal use in manufactured products. The MC framework requires an evaluation of the effectiveness of its measures in meeting the objectives beginning no later than 6 years after the convention’s entry into force and periodically thereafter. The Protocol on Heavy Metals requires a periodic review of the progress towards meeting the obligations in the protocol and the sufficiency and effectiveness of those obligations and an evaluation of whether additional emission reductions are warranted.

This multi-journal special issue (SI) is intended to develop the required information that can be scientifically exploited to address key policy questions of the conventions: (1) what are the contributions of anthropogenic emissions and releases and other Hg sources to current Hg levels observed in air, biota, humans, and other media? (2) How have these contribution levels changed over time and over the timeline of the convention? (3) How do the contribution levels and their trends vary geographically at the global scale? (4) What are the contributions of anthropogenic emissions and releases and other drivers to the temporal trends in observed Hg levels across global regions? (5) How are observed Hg levels expected to change in the future?

The special issue aims at collecting relevant research advances arising from the design, implementation, and results of the Multi-Compartment Hg Modeling and Analysis Project (MCHgMAP) and from the scientific community on all aspects of biogeochemical mercury cycling, including primary and secondary emissions, observations, process studies, and single to multi-compartmental and statistical model development and application. A challenge of analysing the fate of emitted mercury is that it can recycle between the atmosphere, land, and ocean, and as a result, past and present emissions can continue to affect the environment on timescales of decades to centuries. MCHgMAP is an ensemble modelling initiative developed to inform the effectiveness of evaluations of the MC and LRTAP, utilizing a coordinated modelling approach between single-medium (atmosphere, land, and ocean) and multi-media mercury models to consistently simulate the changing global and regional environmental Hg cycling and analyse its drivers. The SI includes an overview paper on MCHgMAP, describing its scientific background and design (an important and crucial preparatory stage), which will be referenced by the individual papers on this project that follow.

Review process: This inter-journal special issue co-lists papers of different journals. Thereby, each paper was submitted to 1 particular journal and underwent the regular interactive peer-review process of that journal. Depending on the journal, the peer review was handled by regular members of the editorial board and/or by guest editors designated by the journal’s chief/executive editors.

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06 May 2024
An improved model for air–sea exchange of elemental mercury in MITgcm-ECCO v4-Hg: the role of surfactants and waves
Ling Li, Peipei Wu, Peng Zhang, Shaojian Huang, and Yanxu Zhang
Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss.,,, 2024
Preprint under review for GMD (discussion: open, 0 comments)
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03 Apr 2024
Modelling the Fate of Mercury Emissions from Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining
Ian Michael Hedgecock, Francesco De Simone, Francesco Carbone, and Nicola Pirrone
EGUsphere,,, 2024
Preprint under review for GMD (discussion: open, 3 comments)
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17 Jan 2024
Global scenarios of anthropogenic mercury emissions
Flora Maria Brocza, Peter Rafaj, Robert Sander, Fabian Wagner, and Jenny M. Jones
EGUsphere,,, 2024
Revised manuscript accepted for ACP (discussion: final response, 3 comments)
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20 Oct 2023
A high-resolution marine mercury model MITgcm-ECCO2-Hg with online biogeochemistry
Siyu Zhu, Peipei Wu, Siyi Zhang, Oliver Jahn, Shu Li, and Yanxu Zhang
Geosci. Model Dev., 16, 5915–5929,,, 2023
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