Mercury depletion events in the troposphere in mid-latitudes at the Dead Sea, Israel

Mordechai Peleg*, Valeri Matveev, Eran Tas, Menachem Luria, Ralph J. Valente, Daniel Obrist

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The occurrence of mercury depletion events (MDE) in the Polar Regions during the spring periods has raised global concern due to the biomagnifications of the deposited mercury into the aquatic food chain. However, it now appears that MDE is not limited to the Polar Regions and can also occur at mid-latitudes. Diurnal cycles of mercury, ozone, and BrO behavior based on short-time resolution measurements are presented for the Dead Sea, Israel, for Summer 2006. The results show that mercury depletion events occur almost daily, accompanied always by the presence of BrO and concurrent ozone destruction. The intensity of the MDE corresponded to increasing BrO levels. Mercury depletions of more than 40% were observed when BrO levels rose above 60-70 ppt. Based on the present measurements and supported by theoretical considerations, it appears that BrOx (BrO + Br) is the primary species responsible for the mercury depletion at the Dead Sea. The present study also suggests, especially at low ozone levels, that the Br atom may play a major role in conversion of the gaseous elemental mercury to the reactive species, HgBr2. The implications of the present study are that even at low BrO levels (<10 ppt), mercury depletion may well occur at other mid-latitude sites and thus needs to be taken into consideration in the global mercury cycle.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)7280-7285
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2007


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