Title

Mercury from wildfires: Global emission inventories and sensitivity to 2000–2050 global change

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-31-2017

Department

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Abstract

We estimate the global Hg wildfire emissions for the 2000s and the potential impacts from the 2000–2050 changes in climate, land use and land cover and Hg anthropogenic emissions by combining statistical analysis with global data on vegetation type and coverage as well as fire activities. Global Hg wildfire emissions are estimated to be 612 Mg year−1. Africa is the dominant source region (43.8% of global emissions), followed by Eurasia (31%) and South America (16.6%). We find significant perturbations to wildfire emissions of Hg in the context of global change, driven by the projected changes in climate, land use and land cover and Hg anthropogenic emissions. 2000–2050 climate change could increase Hg emissions by 14% globally and regionally by 18% for South America, 14% for Africa and 13% for Eurasia. Projected changes in land use by 2050 could decrease the global Hg emissions from wildfires by 13% mainly driven by a decline in African emissions due to significant agricultural land expansion. Future land cover changes could lead to significant increases in Hg emissions over some regions (+32% North America, +14% Africa, +13% Eurasia). Potential enrichment of terrestrial ecosystems in 2050 in response to changes in Hg anthropogenic emissions could increase Hg wildfire emissions globally (+28%) and regionally (+19% North America, +20% South America, +24% Africa, +41% Eurasia). Our results indicate that the future evolution of climate, land use and land cover and Hg anthropogenic emissions are all important factors affecting Hg wildfire emissions in the coming decades.

Publication Title

Atmospheric Environment

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