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Understanding Mercury Cycling in Tibetan Glacierized Mountain Environment: Recent Progress and Remaining Gaps

Zhang, Qianggong, Sun, Xuejun, Sun, Shiwei, Yin, Xiufeng, Huang, Jie, Cong, Zhiyuan, Kang, Shichang
Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology 2019 v.102 no.5 pp. 672-678
ecosystems, glaciers, hydrology, melting, mercury, models, risk, rivers, spring, China
Glacierized mountain environments can preserve and release mercury (Hg) and play an important role in regional Hg cycling. In the Tibetan Plateau (TP), most glaciers have been retreating at unprecedented rate in recent decades, acting as one of the most active factors in regional hydrological cycling. In this mini-review, we summarized recent studies on Hg distribution, transport, and accumulation in Tibetan glacierized environments. We highlight that melting glacier may represent a stimulator that exports Hg to glacier-fed ecosystems. We identified major knowledge gaps and proposed future research needs with several emphases, including quantifying Hg in glacier ablation zone, depicting Hg transport and transformation in glacial rivers during spring melt season, and better constraining glacier-export Hg and its environmental risks to the downstream. Besides, Hg isotopic technical, passive sampling and hydrological transport model should be utilized to improve the understanding of Hg cycling in high mountain regions in the TP.