MERCYMS

An Integrated Approach to Assess the Mercury Cycle into the Mediterranean Basin (MERCYMS)

Funded by: European Commission, DG Research – 5th Framework Programme

“Programme on Energy Environment and Sustainable Development” Key Action: “Sustainable Marine Ecosystem”
Part of the ELOISE cluster – (Contr. No. EVK3-CT-2002-00070)

Period: 1 October 2002-30 November 2005

Ambiente

36 mesi

Concluso

Project Description

In recent years the European Union has started the process of reshaping its environmental policy by launching the Framework Water Directive and the Air Quality Directive for major pollutants. Special attention is devoted to those pollutants that are persistent in air, water and soil ecosystems with different residence times and have a significant impact on human health and the environment. Mercury is a pollutant of major concern in Europe due primarily to its high toxicity and persistence in the environment. In fact, once released to soil, water and atmospheric ecosystems from a multitude of natural and anthropogenic sources, it can be re-distributed in the environment through a complex combination of chemical, physical and biological processes that can act with different time scales. Therefore, the implementation of these directives requires a continuos progress in our knowledge of all those mechanisms that may effect the cycling of mercury between air, water and soil ecosystems. Past and recent studies carried out in the Mediterranean Sea show that the contribution of the air-sea exchange in the overall mercury cycle between the atmosphere and marine waters can be significant.

Based on these preliminary estimates, there is a general agreement in the scientific community that the marine ecosystem can be a sink and/or source of the mercury that is cycling in the global environment, and current estimates of the global mercury budget for the Mediterranean region are affected by high uncertainty.  This uncertainty is primarily due to the little progress made so far in evaluating the role of chemical, physical and biological processes in the water system and in the lower atmosphere above the sea water (air-water interface).  The dynamics of water waves have also been shown to play an important role in the global mercury cycle. However, the relationship between the atmospheric input – the cycle in the marine environment and the re-emissions back to the atmosphere is not yet fully understood.

Anthropogenic activities presumably increased the surface water marine Hg concentration by a factor three, an increase which resulted amongst others in elevated Hg concentrations in marine fishes. It is currently thought that most of the methylated Hg found in the water column and the biota of the marine waters is generated by in-situ production, though the reaction mechanisms are not yet clearly understood.

Objectives

The overall goal of MERCYMS is to fill the gaps firstly specificated  and develop a Practical Working Tool (PWT) for a wide spectrum of users (i.e., policy makers, environmental planners) that would allow to assess for different environmental conditions and socio-economic scenarios, the relationship between the atmospheric input of mercury and its compounds to the Mediterranean Sea and the formation/production of the most toxic forms of mercury (i.e., MMHg, DMHg) in the marine system which have a significant impact on human health and the environment.

Specific objectives of MERCYMS are:

  • To improve our capabilities in modeling the fate of Hg in the marine environment, specifically to assess the translocation of major Hg compounds from one compartment to the other taking into account the role of major chemical, physical and biological processes.
  • To assess the qualitative and quantitative relationships between atmospheric input – direct discharges to the sea from land-based point and diffuse sources – the cycle of Hg in the marine environment and its re-emission back to the atmosphere. A clear knowledge of these relative contributions will support the validation phase of the European Directives.
  • To develop an integrated modeling framework for assessing the magnitude of key parameters describing the cycle of mercury between the Mediterranean Sea and the atmosphere.  It will be a merger of an atmospheric modeling system and a water modeling system. This integrated modeling framework will be evolved into a practical working tool for a wide spectrum of users (i.e., EU Commission, fish industry, policy makers, environmental planners) in order to be applied/adopted for different scenarios of environmental policy. The PWT will be based on the concept of the Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) Framework.
  • To apply this modeling framework for assessing the magnitude of different processes involved in the cycle of mercury and its exchange (net flux) between the surface seawater and the atmosphere under different environmental conditions and socio-economic scenarios. The scenarios that will be considered in this assessment will be derived primarily by the driving principles of the EU Air Quality Directive and EU  Water Framework Directives, International Conventions, the needs of major stakeholders (i.e., fishery), and National and International health organizations (i.e., WHO).

 

It is important to point out that will help meet the goals of other international programs studying mercury behaviour in the environment in Europe i.e., CEN Working Group on the development of standard methods for assessing the levels of mercury in different environmental matrixes, UN-ECE Convention, ELOISE (European Land-Ocean Interaction Studies) network and the LOICZ-IGBP program.

Research strategy

MERCYMS aims at modeling the major patterns of the mercury cycle between air and marine ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea setting up experimental and modeling integrated tasks to investigate key mechanisms that may affect the cycle of mercury in the marine environment and its interaction with the atmosphere.  The final result will be an integrated modeling system able to evaluate the relative contribution of different mechanisms involved in the global cycle of mercury in the Mediterranean Sea environment.

The project consists of five Work Packages, for each Work Package (WP) a scientific co-ordinator (WP Leader) has the responsibility of the contents and deliverables.

WP1 - Data Bases

OBJECTIVES

The Data Bases will provide the core of the input data to both atmospheric and water modeling systems as well as to socio-economic analysis (WP-4).  The data bases will include past and current information on:

  • Mercury emissions to the atmosphere from natural and anthropogenic sources;
  • Mercury releases to the marine waters due to direct discharges of Hg contaminated waters from industries and rivers;
  • Socio-economic data.

 

TASKS

Therefore the Tasks foreseen for WP-1 are:

  • Update the Mercury Emission Inventory (MEI) with special attention to sources in North Africa and Meddle East.
  • Development and set-up of the database (DD) reporting information on past and current Hg releases to marine waters due to direct discharges of Hg contaminated waters from industries and rivers.
  • Development and set-up of the socio-economic (SED) database.
  • Trend analysis of the data reported in the MEI, DD and SED databases.
  • Inclusion of MEI, DD and SED databases in the Practical Working Tool (PWT).

DELIVERABLES

The following deliverables are foreseen:

  • Data Bases on  Mercury Emission to the Atmosphere (MEI)
  • Data Bases on Mercury Releases to marine waters from direct discharges from point and diffuse sources (DD).
  • Data Bases reporting major socio-economic data (SED).
  • Integration of the MEI, DD, SED data bases to the PWT.
  • Final Report of WP-1.

MILESTONES

The following milestones are foreseen:

  • Collection of data from national and international authorities
  • Completion of the data base on Hg emissions to the atmosphere (MEI) with most recent data.
  • Development and completion of the data base (DD) on direct discharges of Hg contaminated waters from industries, wastewater treatment plants and rivers.
  • Development and completion of the data base (SED) reporting socio-economic data
  • Inclusion of these data bases in a Geographic Information System (GIS) that will be part of the PWT framework.

Responsible for the WP-1: Dr. John Munthe

WP2 - Integrated Modeling Tool

OBJECTIVES

The IMF will be a merger of the atmospheric and water modeling systems taking into account their different spatial and temporal scales and resolution. The IMF will provide spatial and temporal distributions of key parameters that define major patterns of the cycle of organic and inorganic mercury compounds in the atmospheric and marine systems as well as at the air-water interface which include:

  • Ambient concentrations of major mercury species in the atmosphere above the sea water;
  • Atmospheric deposition fluxes (dry and wet) to the marine waters;
  • Evasional fluxes from marine waters to the atmosphere;
  • Concentration of dissolved Hg in marine waters;
  • Concentration of Hg and its compounds in the biota;
  • Exchange rates of Hg at the water-sediment interface.

The IMF will be validated and calibrated with experimental data provided by the WP-3.

TASKS

Therefore the Tasks foreseen for WP-2 are:

  • Inclusion of a detailed halogen chemistry and photochemical reaction scheme in the AM system in order to reduce the uncertainty associated to ambient concentration, depositional flux and exchange rate of gaseous Hg at the air-water interface.
  • A better parameterisation of wave dynamics in the air-water exchange module of the AM system.
  • Application of the AM system for spatial analysis of major meteorological and dispersion-transport patterns and set-up of the AM system in order to be dynamically coupled with WM system.
  • Implementation and set-up of the PCFLOW3D system and spatial analysis of major hydrodynamic and dispersion-transport patterns of the Mediterranean Sea with respect to location of point and diffuse sources and prevailing meteorological conditions.
  • Improvement of the DYNTRIM module and sensitivity analysis of major key parameters affecting chemical and physical transformation of Hg and its compounds and its re-distribution between abiotic and biotic compartments and accumulation in the aquatic food chain.
  • Sensitivity analysis (first order) of the full WM system with respect to hydrodynamic parameters as well as chemical and biological parameters.
  • Validation and calibration of the WM system with measurements provided by WP-3.
  • Dynamic coupling of the AM and WM system and set-up of the Integrated Modeling System for the Mediterranean basin.
  • Application of the Integrated Modeling System for the periods related to the 4 intensive campaigns and oceanographic cruises and comparison of measured and modelled parameters.
  • Application of the Integrated Modeling System for three different socio-economic scenarios (BAU, POT, DEG) as described in WP-4.
  • Once the Integrated Modeling system has been validated and thus applicable for specific case-study scenarios it will be evolved in a Practical Working Tool (PWT) for being used by a number of users.

DELIVERABLES

The following deliverables are foreseen for WP-2 are:

  • Stand-alone version of the AM system;
  • Stand-alone version of the WM system.
  • Integrated Modeling System validated and tested with ad-hoc measurements provided by WP-3 and other past and on-going research programs.
  • Results of the modeling simulations performed with the Integrated Modeling System for the four periods related to the intensive measurements at coastal and off-shore sites.
  • Results of the modeling simulations for three different socio-economic scenarios (BAU, POT and DEG) as highlighted in WP-4.
  • Evolved version of the integrated modeling system in a user-oriented Practical Working Tool (PWT).
  • Final Report on WP-2.

MILESTONES

The following milestones are foreseen:

  • Completion of the upgrade of the AM system with the inclusion of the halogen chemistry and photochemical scheme.
  • Completion of the inclusion of a better parameterisation of the wave dynamic in the AM system.
  • Completion of the set-up of PCFLOW3D system for the whole Mediterranean Sea area and related spatial analysis.
  • Completion and sensitivity analysis of the DYNTRIM module
  • Sensitivity analysis of the full WM system.
  • Completion of the validation and calibration of the WM system with measurements provided by WP-3
  • Completion of the dynamic coupling of AM and WM systems along with validation and calibration of the full Integrated Modeling System.
  • Completion of the integration of the socio-economic analysis with the integrated modeling system and application for the BAU, POT and DEG scenarios.
  • Set-up and completion of the Practical Working Tool (PWT).

Responsible for the WP-2: Prof. Nicola Pirrone

WP3 - Field Measurements

OBJECTIVES

The aim of this WP is to integrated atmospheric and water measurements to be performed at on-shore and off-shore sites; these measurements will be used to validate and calibrate the IMF (WP-2) and will be part of the WP-1. The measurements will be performed at coastal sites during four intensive campaigns and on board of a research vessel during two oceanographic cruises that will be performed along the coastal shelf and towards deep ocean waters. In order to assure a full control of the QA/QC and comparability of the measurement and analytical techniques used by different groups within the consortium, a field intercompariosn exercise will be performed during the first phase of the project.

TASKS

Therefore the Tasks foreseen for WP-3 are:

  • Intercomparison measurement campaign for atmospheric and water measurements and preparation of ad-hoc measurement and analytical protocols.
  • Review of existing atmospheric and water measurements data available from past research programs on the Mediterranean Sea. This will support and help the selection of the sampling sites.
  • Selection of the location of the coastal sites.
  • Execution of the 4 intensive field measurement campaigns at five coastal sites and two oceanographic cruises during summer 2003 and spring 2004 aboard a research vessel (RV) for open sea measurements.

DELIVERABLES

The following deliverables are foreseen for WP-3 are:

  • Results of the Intercomparison measurement campaign and measurement and analytical protocols to be used by all partners in the following atmospheric and water measurements.
  • Results of integrated atmospheric and water measurements carried out at coastal and off-shore sites.
  • Accumulation and remobilization rates of mercury in sediments including past and present accumulation rates.
  • Partition coefficients between dissolved and particle associated Hg species.
  • Definition of main variables affecting transformation and transport rates in water samples and at the sediment-water interface.
  • Comparability of data demonstrated through well established analytical protocols.
  • Final Report on WP-3.

MILESTONES

The following milestones are foreseen:

  • Compilation of existing data.
  • Intercomparison of the field measurement campaign.
  • Completion of ad-hoc analytical protocols and demonstration of data comparability.
  • Execution and completion of the intensive field measurements at coastal sites and off-shore as well as samples analysis.
  • Comparison of laboratory and field incubation experiments to assess main factors affecting the transfer and transformation routes of mercury species.
  • Completion of the data analysis, QA/QC report and measurements data base.

Responsible for the WP-3: Dr. Olivier Donard

WP4 - Integration with Socio-Economic Analysis

OBJECTIVES

Integration of the IMF with Socio-Economic Analysis (SEA). One of the important objectives of MERCYMS is to elaborate on future changes of the marine ecosystems in the Mediterranean Sea region with respect to mercury. The WP-4 will focus on merging the IMF with SEA in order to examine a set of scenarios of emission controls and reduction of the risk for human health and the environment associated to Hg exposure in the region. The SEA will focus on three specific scenarios that will include the Business As Usual (BAU) scenario, the Policy Target (POT) scenario, and the Deep Green (DEG) scenario. These three scenarios will be based on the recommendations reported in EU Directives, International Conventions on the protection of the European Seas (i.e., Barcelona Convention on the Mediterranean Sea), and on the needs of other working parties/stakeholders ( i.e., fishery, WHO, UNEP). The outcome of these three scenarios will lead to identify the most cost-efficient strategy(ies) or/and policy(ies) to be adopted at country and European levels in order to meet the Targets of EU Directives and international conventions as well.

TASKS

Therefore the Tasks foreseen for WP-4 are:

  • Trend analysis (e.g., multivariate analysis) of the SED
  • Preparation of the socio-economic scenarios (BAU, POT, DEG) and inclusion in the integrated modeling system for executing the modeling simulations as reported in WP-2.
  • Analysis of the results obtained for the three scenarios.
  • Multicriteria analysis and estimate of the costs and benefits (environmental and socio-economic) due to the implementation of different strategies or/and policies.

DELIVERABLES

The following deliverables are foreseen for WP-4 are reported below:

  • A set of socio-economic scenarios to be considered for simulating future Hg inputs to the Mediterranean Sea with different meteorological and marine waters conditions.
  • A set of Hg concentrations in various compartments of the Mediterranean Sea as due the Hg input changes.
  • An estimate of cost and environmental benefits due the implementation of each scenario.
  • Final Report on WP-4.

MILESTONES

The following milestones are foreseen:

  • Multivariate statistical analysis of socio-economic data to be used in the BAU, POT and DEG scenarios.
  • A completion of future scenario (BAU, POT, DEG) estimates for atmospheric Hg input and direct discharges of Hg contaminated waters to the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Estimates of environmental consequences of Hg input reductions strategies or/and policies.
  • Estimates of economic consequences of the implementation of the Hg input reduction strategies or/and policies scenarios.

Responsible for the WP-3: Prof. Jozef Pacyna

WP5 - Dissemination

OBJECTIVES

Within this WP a Policy Advisory Board (PAB) of users will be set up in the first phase of the project. Its role is the dissemination through different channels and advising on transforming the science products to products adapted to the users. The results achieved will be made available within dedicated workshops and in peer-reviewed literature. The internet site of the project will be an important instrument to disseminate the research products.

TASKS

In order to assure that the integrated modeling tool may meet the expectation of major users / stakeholders at country and European levels, the proposed project will set up a Policy Advisory Board (PAB) of users will be set up in the first phase of the project. To the PAB will be asked to contribute to shape the scenarios to be considered in the framework of EU Air Quality Directive on Mercury, EU Framework Water Directive, UNEP Working Group on the “Global Assessment of Mercury Pollution” and other international conventions on the protection of marine environment and specifically on the protection of the Mediterranean Sea.

Therefore, the PAB will contribute to the dissemination through different channels and advising on transforming the science products to products adapted to the users. This will occur through seminars and workshops dedicated to all users.

The internet site of the project will be an additional instrument to disseminate the products of the project. On the internet site the data bases and models will be made available as well as general information on the outcome of the working packages and the project itself.

Other informative material will include brochures, synthesised reports and interactive graphic user-oriented informative materials on CD-ROMs and web sites.

DELIVERABLES

  • Internet site providing information on the project development and progress. On the internet site will be available technical reports, databases and models.
  • Policy Advisory Board (PAB). 
  • Informative user-oriented material (brochure, CD-ROMs with demos, etc.) during the progress of the project.
  • Seminars for users and workshops.
  • CD-ROMs with data sets, modeling tools, Annual and Final Technical Reports.
  • Technological Implementation Plan (TIP).
  • Final Report on WP-5.

MILESTONES

  • Internet site established.
  • Policy Advisory Board (PAB) established.
  • Informative material on the project (i.e., brochure, CD-Rom with demos, journal articles).
  • Seminars for users, workshops.
  • CD-ROMs with data sets, modeling tools, Annual and Final Technical Reports, Technological Implementation Plan (TIP).

Responsible for the WP-5: Prof. Nicola Pirrone

Responsible for the WP-3: Prof. Jozef Pacyna

AM: Atmospheric Modeling System DD: Direct Disharges Data POT: Policy Target Scenario WM: Water Modeling system BAU: Business As Usual Scenario DEG: Deep Green Scenario SED: Socio-Economic Data MEI: Mercury Emission Inventory FWD: Framework Water Directive SEA: Socio-Economic Analysis

The figure on the left shows the project strategy and major futures of the integrated modeling tool as well  as the inter-link between work packages.

Policy Advisory Boards

The Policy Advisory Board will involve representatives of major international organisations (i.e., UNEP) and conventions (i.e., Barcelona) on the protection of the Mediterranean Sea as well as those involved in the development or/and implementation of European Directives (i.e., Water Framework Directive, Air Quality Directives) at national and regional/international level. The role of the PAB is to provide input in the socio-economic scenario formulation and in the dissemination of the project’s results through different channels, and advising on transforming the science products to products adapted to the users.

Partnership

  • CNR Institue of Environmental Pollution Research (CNR-IIA) – COORDINATORE
  • IASA – GREECE
  • NILU – NORWAY
  • IVL – SWEDEN
  • UGOT – SWEDEN
  • IJS – SLOVENIA
  • TECHNION – ISRAEL
  • IEIA – POLAND
  • LCABIE – FRANCE
  • CNR-IB – ITALY
  • UOL – SLOVENIA
  • EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Nicola Pirrone

Nicola Pirrone

Project Coordinator

email: pirrone@iia.cnr.it

Working group

CNR IIA

Developer of models, environmental measurements, and socio-economic related activities

Sergio Cinnirella

Staff CNR IIA

Franco Cofone

Staff CNR IIA

Ian M. Hedgecock

Staff CNR IIA

Maria Orrico

Staff CNR IIA

Francesca Sprovieri

Staff CNR IIA

IASA

Developer of atmospheric models

George Kallos

Responsble Scientist

Ioannis Pytharoulis

Staff IASA

NILU

Developer of emission database & socio-economic  related activities

Elisabeth G. Pacyna

Responsible Scientist

Jozef M. Pacyna

Staff NILU

Kevin Barrett

Staff NILU

Alena Bartonova

Staff NILU

IVL

Environmental measurements

John Munthe

Responsible Scientist

Jana Moldanova

Staff IVL

Jan Tobisson

Staff NILU

Ingvar Wangberg

Staff IVL

UGOT

Environmental measurements

Oliver Lindqvist

Responsible Scientist

Katarina Gardfeldt

Staff UGOT

IJS

Environmental measurements

Milena Horvat

Responsible Scientist

Joze Kotnik

Staff IJS

Nives Ogrinc

Staff IJS

TECHNION

Environmental measurements

Yaacov Mamane

Responsible Scientist

IEIA

Developer of emission database & socio-economic related activities

Janina Fudala

Responsible Scientist

Stanislaw Hlawiczka

Staff IEIA

Ewa Strzelecka

Staff IEIA

LCABIE

Environmental measurements

Olivier F.X. Donard

Responsible Scientist

David Amoroux

Staff LCABIE

Mathilde Monperrus

Staff LCABIE

Emmanuel Tessier

Staff LCABIE

CNR-IB

Environmental measurements

Romano Ferrara

Responsible Scientist

Claudia Ceccarini

Staff CNR-IB

Enrica Lanzillotta

Staff CNR-IB

Elena Maserti

Staff CNR-IB

Maurizio Torti

Staff CNR-IB

UOL

Developer of water models

Rudi Rajar

Responsible Scientist

Matjaz Cetina

Staff UOL

Mario Krzyk

Staff UOL

Andrej Sirca

Staff UOL

Dusan Zagar

Staff UOL

Majda Zakrajsek

Staff UOL

NILU Polska

Jozef M. Pacyna

Responsible Scientist

Agnieszka Didluch

Staff NILU Polska

Damian Panasiuk

Staff NILU Polska

European Commission

Hartmut Barth

Project Officer