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Colorado Bob

This I think may be a first..can anyone confirm? Some of the buoys that were left very near the North Pole last spring..totally escaped the Arctic.

155. Skyepony (Mod) 1:02 AM GMT on January 16, 2014


Yup, a bunch, if not most are gone, blown out of either the Fram ot Nares.


New sea ice is thinner, less solid than multi-year ice. Therefore many more leads are created. These leads unleash a greater
onslaught of sea salts. These new leads are daily created by the thousands, they freeze quickly especially in darkness, some are compressed between older ice pans, these crush the new ice causing upwards piles of shingles or plates, this occurs especially when there is a lot of motion, these piles of new ice are rich in sea salts as well. The winds take care of spreading the salts more evenly. Come spring time photochemistry causes the said reactions. The whole thing is part of the process of the thinning of the overall sea ice pack.

Colorado Bob

The arctic sea ice is one step above a 7-11, frozen drink.


Colorado Bob, in scale, you may not be far off.


Amazing how soon they found me after posting this. I just received an e-mail:

Glad to hear that you're on the market for mercury.

We specialize in this field for several years with good quality and pretty competitive price.

Should you have any questions, pls do not hesitate to contact me.

FREE SAMPLES will be sent for your evaluation.

No need, I answered, eventually I will have even more mercury samples in my tissues, via the Arctic. ;-)

Jim Hunt

Bob - It's not really "a first". The buoys seem to have survived a bit longer this year, and thus kept transmitting their position from further south.

However starting near the pole then getting washed out through the Fram Strait has certainly happened before. See e.g. http://imb.crrel.usace.army.mil/2012B.htm

For lots more information see also "What the buoys are telling us" on the forum: http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,327.0.html

Philip Cohen

Are these levels of mercury biologically significant? The chlorine surely isn't, except for possibly amplifying the mercury.


You don't need very high levels of mercury for it to be biologically significant. IIRC, at a few parts per billion disruption fish schooling behavior has been seen.

On the high levels of atmospheric chlorine: As they say, it is highly reactive. Could these high levels be reacting with the methane that has been reported coming out of various parts of the Arctic, and could this help explain the seeming mis-match between the vast quantities of methane actually seen bubbling out of the oceans, and the (generally still) relatively slow rate of increase of atmospheric methane concentrations in the general region?

Rob Dekker

Slightly OT, but I just came across this statement by the vice president of the Russian Geographic Society :

"There should be a rise of a few more tenths of a degree in the average annual Arctic temperature for the development of minerals in the Arctic to be profitable, Chistyakov said."


"This is a matter not only of hydrocarbons, but also of other resources, for instance, rare earth metals. Russia sets itself an ambitious aim to increase the output of rare earth metals and to assume the leading position in high-tech production."

Who needs enemies of our planet's Arctic eco system and unique wildlife environment when you have the Russian Geographic Society as a friend ?


We're wired up using copper compounds, mercury is easily substituted for copper atoms in these compounds, mercury may or may not fire and relay any signal or may delay the signal firing it later at random, copper reliably relays signals received. This way lies madness.
IIRC the Ozone hole is worst in the morning before 10:00 and repairs itself up until about 16:00 so I wonder if this has something to do with UV or does Ozone also inhibit any other part of the EM spectrum?


Reasonable speculation, john33, but at this point of the year, there won't be a lot of UV around.

It strikes me, that the circulation and behavior is akin to that which you would see when performing fractional distillation as part of the synthesis of organic compounds. The heat source - leads - providing kinetic energy, activation energy (for reactions) and additional reagents, in the form of h2o, chlorine, and other ions from sea salt.

Circulation up the column then provides a gradient in temperature, both encouraging reactions, and the separation/ concentration of compounds in the air column. Not unlike distillation columns used to crack petroleum.


jdallen_wa From above "Molecular chlorine concentrations peaked in the early morning and late afternoon, and fell to near-zero levels at night. Average daytime molecular chlorine levels were correlated with ozone concentrations, suggesting that sunlight and ozone may be required for molecular chlorine formation." so not entirely my speculation, though I did wonder about the definition of early morning and late afternoon with 24 hour daylight. My figures work at 52N so are not altogether comparable.


Keep in mind that greenhouse gasses cool the stratosphere, which increases ozone destruction even without considering added chlorine or bromine.

@Bob: In recent years some of the buoys are usually out into open water by now. The Transpolar Drift has always taken buoys from that area nearly straight out the Fram, although they can get hung up if they drift a little west. It was a speed record or nearly one this year, but other recent years haven't been much different. The Coriolis force depends strongly on ice thickness even if the drag doesn't, so the drift used to be much slower.

@Wili: Chlorine will destroy some methane, but this is insignificant compared to OH. The significant effects are ozone production as a byproduct of methane destruction, ozone destruction due to stratospheric chlorine, and slowing of destruction of all photodegrading aerosols due to depletion of OH by methane.

As an explanation of the currently ending methane concentration plateau, the unoxidized releases aren't really all that large yet, since most of the methane currently doesn't make it out of the ocean. I'm also convinced releases from Russia around the end of the Soviet Union are greatly underestimated, resulting in declining direct anthropogenic methane emissions in the immediate post-Soviet period.

@John: The diurnal variation of stratospheric ozone is rather weak. Since the reactions catalyzed by chlorine and bromine require both UV light and low-temperature stratospheric clouds, they occur only in the spring (austral spring in Antarctica) when light returns.

@Jdallen: There isn't much re-vaproizaiton as there would be in a distillation column, and the thermal energy is not anywhere sufficient for the stable contaminants we're talking about, requiring destruction by UV or biological reactions. The temperature gradient has nothing to do with the reactions in a column in any case. The greater concentration of pollutants in the Arctic much less due to higher deposition rates than to increased lifetime. All reactions just take much longer due to lower temperature and lower biological activity, so the same deposition rate leads to much higher concentrations.

Unlike the effects of direct mercury emissions, the described increase in mercury deposition due to lower sea ice and increased convection is probably mostly a shift of deposition time rather than a net increase, since the tropospheric air will eventually be mixed down eventually anyhow.


"--a few parts per billion" --wili

I think that with extremely toxic materials like mercury it is important to state actual numbers of molecules rather than parts per billion.

It is easily calculated how many molecules of water there are in a set volume of water.


A mole of distilled water contains 6.022 X 10^23 molecules of water and has a mass of just over 18 grams. 18 grams of distilled water at 4 degrees C occupies a volume of 18 milliliters.

1 part per billion =1/1,000,000,000 = 1/10^9

Therefore (6.022 X 10^23)/10^9 = 6.022 X 10^14
or about 602,200,000,000,000.

So at 1 part per billion mercury, every 18 milliliters of water contains just over 600 trillion molecules of mercury.

This sounds a lot different than 1 part per billion and I believe it represents a much clearer view of how much mercury is actually contained in the water,

Susan Anderson

As always, reading these articles and comments is an education, this time Blaine especially. Thanks to all for attention to reality and detail.


Note that many of the Greenland fjords, Umiivik and south, show open water.


Some cracking movies here, now how do I slow them down. http://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/monthly/NH.html

Hubert Bułgajewski

Returning to anomalies in the USA. The situation is getting serious. And the world? Still the same - ignore the problem.

In Poland and some other countries, global warming is still a touchy subject.


More contaminants on their way north!

"About 670 million litres of waste spilled from a coal mine in Alberta on Oct. 31 (the original estimate was 1 billion litres) in what is believed to be Canada's largest ever coal slurry spill."

"Among the contaminants found were aluminum, manganese, lead, cadmium, mercury and cancer-causing compounds."



Have a great day!

Hans Gunnstaddar


Scroll down 5 articles to get to this one:
Toxic mercury pollution rising with Arctic meltdown

"Cracks in sea ice are funneling additional mercury to the Arctic surface, raising concerns about the toxic element seeping into the food chain of the delicate ecosystem, according to a new study."

There are graphs at top that are either redundant or new to this discussion, so either way thought I would make the link available.


We are seeing the Arctic sea ice fracturing patterns redevelop that we saw last year. They may be a further contributor to the mercury or CH4 release.

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