Tag: coastal fog

Researchers track origins of mercury in coastal California fog

A layer of marine fog hugs the coastline at San Francisco Bay in this satellite image from the NASA Earth Observatory project. Click on the image to visit the NASA site.
A layer of marine fog hugs the coastline at San Francisco Bay in this satellite image from the NASA Earth Observatory project. Click on the image to visit the NASA site.

Fog dripping from coastal plants can deposit significant amounts of mercury in the soil

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Toxic heavy metals are known for their persistence in the ecosphere, with substances like mercury accumulating in to sometimes dangerous levels in parts of the food chain.

In a new study, UC Santa Cruz researchers have tried to determine the source of mercury in California’s coastal fog, and say that it may be coming from the upwelling of deep ocean water along the coast.

Lead researcher Peter Weiss-Penzias, an environmental toxicologist, said the elevated levels of mercury are not a human health concern, but the fog does ultimately deposit significant amounts of mercury on land as it condenses and drips off coastal vegetation.

“These are parts-per-trillion levels, so when we say elevated, that’s relative to what was expected in atmospheric water,” Weiss-Penzias said. “The levels measured in rain have always been fairly low, so the results from our first measurements in fog were surprising.” Continue reading “Researchers track origins of mercury in coastal California fog”

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