Impacts of Land Cover Change on Biomass Burning Emissions of Mercury

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Aditya Kumar1, Shiliang Wu2 and Yaoxian Huang2, (1)Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, United States, (2)Michigan Tech, Houghton, MI, United States
Mercury is a toxic pollutant in the global environment. It can be deposited from the atmosphere to water bodies where conversion to the highly toxic methyl mercury occurs. Biomass burning is an important source of mercury to the atmosphere with emissions affected by vegetation type and density. We investigate the impacts of 2000-2050 land cover change on biomass burning emissions of mercury associated with the changes in wildfire activities and mercury emission factors. Our results show that the changes in mercury emission factors driven by vegetation change would significantly affect the mercury emissions from biomass burning over some regions, although little change in the global mercury emissions is calculated. Accounting for the changes in wildfire activities driven by land cover change by 2050 leads to an increase by 14% in the global total mercury emissions from biomass burning with even larger regional perturbations.