Mercury chemical transformations in the gas, aqueous and heterogeneous phases: state-of-the-art science and uncertainties

  • Parisa A. Ariya
  • Kirk Peterson
  • Graydon Snider
  • Marc Amyot


Mercury is a persistent, toxic and bio-accumulative pollutant of global interest. This element is assumed to exist predominantly in the atmosphere, as elemental mercury, undergoing chemical reactions in the presence of atmospheric oxidants. The oxidized mercury can further deposit on the Earth's surface and may potentially be bioaccumulative in the aquatic food chain, through complex, but not yet well understood, mechanisms. Since the atmosphere plays a significant role as a medium for chemical and physical transformation, it is imperative to understand the fundamentals of the kinetics and thermodynamics of the elementary and complex reactions of Hg0(g) and oxidized mercury not only in the atmosphere as gas phase, but also the reactions in the aqueous and heterogeneous phases at atmospheric interfaces such as aerosols, fogs, clouds, and snow-water-air interfaces. In this chapter, we compile a comprehensive set of theoretical, laboratory and field observations involving mercury species in the course of homogeneous and heterogeneous reactions. We herein describe the state-of-the-knowledge in this domain and put forward the open questions and future direction of research.


Atmospheric Environment Elemental Mercury Gaseous Elemental Mercury Fuel Processing Technology Mercury Oxidation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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We acknowledge Natural Science Foundation of Canada (NSERC) and Canadian Foundation for innovation (CFI), McGill University and Italian Ministry of Environment for financial support

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Parisa A. Ariya
    • 1
  • Kirk Peterson
  • Graydon Snider
  • Marc Amyot
  1. 1.Dep. of chemistry, and Dep. of Atmospheric and Oceanic SciencesMontrealCanada

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