Mercury content in the European Union topsoil

Topsoil Hg concentrations (μg kg−1) across 26 EU countries estimated by deep neural network – regression kriging.The assessment is based on 21591 LUCAS samples (0-20cm) from 26 European Union countries.
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Title: Mercury distribution in European Union topsoils.
Description: Mercury (Hg) distribution in topsoil (0-20cm) is influenced by climate, soil properties, vegetation.  In adiiton to the natural factor, mercury has high values close to past mining activities and coal combustion sites. High concentrations of mercury have been found close to well-known mining sites like Almaden (Asturias, Spain), Mt. Amiata (Italy), Idrija (Slovenia) and Rudnany (Slovakia). Overall, the stock of Hg in EU topsoil is estimated to c.a. 44.8 Gg with a median concentration of 38.3 μg kg−1; 10% of the area exceeds the 84.7 μg kg−1 and 209 Hg hotspots (top 1%) have been identified with concentrations >422 μg kg−1.In a more detailed investigation, 42% of the hotspots were associated with well-known mining activities while the rest can be related either to coal combustion industries or local diffuse contamination. In total 209 hotspots were identified, defined as the top percentile in Hg concentration (>422 μg kg−1). 87 sites (42% of all hotspots) were associated with known mining areas. The sources of the other hotspots could not be identified and may relate to unmined geogenic Hg or industrial pollution.
Resolution: 250m
Time Reference:  2009
Format: GeoTIFF
Projection: ETRS89 Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area
Input data: 21,591 measured points of LUCAS survey and other auxiliary variables: Geology, Land use & vegetation, Climate, Topography, Soil Properties.
More Information: Mercury in EU Topsoils
Release Date: 21/1/2021

According to our study, diffuse Hg contamination in European topsoil is not an emerging issue.  However, policy actions are needed for managing the existing hotspots and the emissions connected to power production. The 1% has been found to be at 422 μg kg−1. Therefore, areas close to past mining activities and coal combustion sites have high concentrations of Hg. The regression and the interpolation model highlight the influence of natural factors (soil organic matter, NDVI, texture, land use, parent material , pH, temperature, ). In addition, we take into account som eantorpogenic sources of contamination. Details can be found in the recent published paper.

Note: Extrapolated data for the whole European Continent are also avaialble. Those should be used with care. Our focus is in the EU data.

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