Articles | Volume 18, issue 10
Research article
25 May 2018
Research article |  | 25 May 2018

How important is biomass burning in Canada to mercury contamination?

Annemarie Fraser, Ashu Dastoor, and Andrei Ryjkov

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Subject: Gases | Research Activity: Atmospheric Modelling and Data Analysis | Altitude Range: Troposphere | Science Focus: Chemistry (chemical composition and reactions)
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Cited articles

AMAP/UNEP: Technical Background Report for the Global Mercury Assessment 2013, Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, Oslo, Norway/UNEP Chemicals Branch, Geneva, Switzerland, viC263 pp., available at: (last access: 22 May 2018), 2013.
Andreae, M. O. and Merlet, P.: Emission of trace gases and aerosols from biomass burning, Global Biogeochem. Cy., 15, 955–966, 2001.
CMSA, Canadian Mercury Science Assessment: Environment and Climate Change Canada, Gatineau, Canada, available at: (last access: 22 May 2018), 2016.
Cole, A. S., Steffen, A., Pfaffhuber, K. A., Berg, T., Pilote, M., Poissant, L., Tordon, R., and Hung, H.: Ten-year trends of atmospheric mercury in the high Arctic compared to Canadian sub-Arctic and mid-latitude sites, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 1535–1545,, 2013.
Cole, A. S., Steffen, A., Eckley, C. S., Narayan, J., Pilote, M., Torden, R., Graydon, J. A., St. Louis, V. L., Xu, X., and Branfireun, B. A.: A Survey of mercury in air and precipitation across Canada: Patterns and Trends, Atmosphere, 5, 635–668,, 2014.
Short summary
This paper quantifies the emissions of mercury from biomass burning in Canada. Using an emissions inventory of mercury in the GEM-MACH-Hg model, surface observations of mercury concentration, and a top-down inversion method, we generate optimized emissions of mercury. We find that biomass burning is an important source of mercury emissions and deposition in Canada. Significant uncertainty remains, due to uncertainty in the speciation of emitted mercury.
Final-revised paper