Updating Historical Global Inventories of Anthropogenic Mercury Emissions to Air. AMAP Technical Report No. 3 (2010).
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Atmospheric emissions of mercury (Hg) occur during burning of fossil fuels (in particular coal) for energy production; during the manufacture of industrial products (such as non-ferrous metals, and cement); and from the use of mercury in a range of applications (including artisanal and small scale gold mining, and dentistry) and consumer products, and their subsequent disposal as waste. Mercury is also emitted to the atmosphere from non-anthropogenic sources, including re-emissions from aquatic and terrestrial surfaces. A large part of these emissions are (globally) distributed via atmospheric transport, with the result that environmental consequences of atmospheric mercury are observed in areas such as the Arctic, that are far from the main anthropogenic source regions. In order to address policy-related questions relating to mitigation of mercury pollution, including international efforts aimed at establishing a global agreement on mercury, information is needed on the sources and atmospheric transport of mercury. Due to the lack of adequate (global) measurement data, indirect approaches such as compilation of emissions data and modeling air transport are important components in addressing some of these questions. Consequently, effort is directed at obtaining the best available information on anthropogenic mercury emissions and trends, and reducing the uncertainties associated with the resulting estimates. In 2009, a project was initiated to re-evaluate the available global inventories of anthropogenic mercury emissions to air. The project was coordinated by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) Secretariat and implemented through contractors at the Swedish Institute for Environmental Research, IVL (Sweden); Norwegian Institute for Air Research, NILU (Norway); CE/W (Belgium); and Arctic Centre-University of Groningen, ACUG (Netherlands), based on support from Canada and Denmark. The main products of the project – a series of updated (and consistently constructed) emission inventories for the years 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2005 – have been used to develop information for inclusion in the 2010 AMAP Assessment of Mercury in the Arctic and reports commissioned by UNEP in connection with the UNEP 2009 Governing Council’s ‘Paragraph 29’ decision. They have also been provided (in the form of geo-spatially ‘gridded’ datasets) to modeling groups in Canada (Meteorological Service of Canada, MSC), Denmark (National Environmental Research Institute, NERI) and Russia (Meteorological Synthesizing Centre-East, MSC-E), and others, for use in mercury atmospheric transport modeling and investigation of source-receptor relationships, etc. Main project results are summarised in a non-technical form in Section 3, which also constitutes the description of results that has been made available to the authors of the AMAP mercury assessment report and to the authors of the UNEP ‘Paragraph 29’ report.
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