With the signing of the UNEP Minamata Convention in 2013, governments have globally accepted that mercury (Hg) is toxic; scientific needs will therefore shift towards best implementation practices of the Convention. With most Hg emissions emanating from the energy-industrial sector this means that governments have to balance economic and environmental interests. How does one assess that balance ? Biogeochemical Hg cycling is complex: superimposed on the strongly perturbed inorganic Hg cycle is the natural process of biomethylation that generates the bioaccumulating monomethyl-Hg form that we are all exposed to when we consume fish.
Comprehensive 3D models of the biogeochemical Hg cycle that have been developed over the past 15 years can capture this complexity and evaluate the effectiveness of environmental policy scenarios. For the models to work however, they must include realistic descriptions of fundamental Hg transformations and fluxes across Earth’s surface environments.
In order to challenge and improve these models, reliable observations have to be made available to the research communities.
One of the major goals of GMOS-FR is to fill the gap of unexplored environments and gather observations of atmospheric mercury species in remote places of the planet.
These observations contribute to the GEO-GOS4M Global Observation System for Mercury. It is aimed to support the UN Global Partnership on Mercury Fate and Transport Research (UN F&T) of the UN environment in the implementation of the Minamata Convention by providing a Knowledge Platform on mercury in environment and the human health. It will support UN environment and Nations to assess the effectiveness of measures that will be undertaken.
Since 2012, we are pleased to provide atmospheric measurements of mercury species at :
- Amsterdam Island in the Indian Ocean (AMS IPEV-TAAF district) from 2012 (gmap link)
- Concordia station in central Antarctica (Franco-Italian station with our italian CNR partners) from 2012 to 2021 (gmap link)
- Dumont d’Urville in Antarctica (DDU IPEV-TAAF district) from 2012 to 2015 (gmap link)
- Chacaltaya high elevation station in Bolivia (with our UMSA/LFA partners) from 2014 to 2016 (gmap link)
- Maïdo Observatory in La Réunion Island (with LACY and OPAR partners) from 2017 to 2018 (gmap link)
- Pic du Midi Observatory (PDM with GET partners) from 2011 to 2014 (gmap link)
Initiated by the FP7 project GMOS (Global Mercury Observation System), these observations are today supported by the IPEV-French Polar Institute (GMOstral-1028 IPEV program) and other international (iGOSP-ICUGO in the framework of ERA-PLANET network), national (LEFE) and local (LABEX OSUG@2020) funding research supports.