Friday, January 15, 2016

Coastal fog, more to it than you think

Half Moon Bay Review/Julia Reis, 1/13/16.  "Elevated mercury levels found in coastal fog. Montara data aids FogNet study."

Image result for Pacifica Fog Fest picture
Serving up Pacifica mercury fog fest 
Image result for collecting fog samples, Montara, CA picture
Studying methyl mercury in our
moisture, air and fog.  Some
things organic are not so good.
"Using precipitation measured in Montara in their findings, a team of California-based researchers has discovered that the fog that often blankets the Coastside deposits significantly more methyl mercury onto the landscape than rain — and that the element can be found in higher concentrations along the coastline. These findings were presented at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in December and stemmed from a project called FogNet.

....   Montara Water and Sanitary District’s property was included as a host site for an active and passive station in the summer of 2014. However, last summer it only hosted the passive station, as the active one was moved to San Francisco State to make it easier for researchers there to maintain it. 

....  ... On average, the concentration of methyl mercury was 19 times higher in fog collected on land compared to rain over land. Moreover, researchers found there were consistently low levels of mercury offshore and higher amounts at test sites closer to the ocean, like in Montara.

.... Fog stations located several miles inland measured the lowest concentrations of methyl mercury. 'We did see patterns from coastal versus inland, but all up and down the coast we saw enhanced levels of methyl mercury in the fog, which pretty much eliminates it being a local effect,'...  Experts say there is no direct human health risk. .... Still, the FogNet findings raise questions about how the concentrations of methyl mercury in fog could be affecting animals, plants and the land itself — as well as what else fog droplets could be carrying."  Read article. 

Related article.  Half Moon Bay Review/Julia Reis, 3/20/14, "Fog sampling stations coming to Coastside." "For tourists who flock to the Coastside this summer, the thick blanket of fog that may greet them at the beach can be a disappointing contrast to their vision of fun in the sun. But it will be a welcome sight to San Francisco State University Professor Andrew Oliphant, who teaches in the Department of Geography and Environment. Montara Water and Sanitary District recently approved the university’s proposal to install a fog sampling station on the district’s property off Highway 1 in Montara. The station is meant to research levels of methyl mercury along the California coast. Methyl mercury is a biological form of mercury known as organic mercury, and it’s very toxic, Oliphant said in an email."

Reference.  FogNet/About, "FogNet is a collaborative effort between UC Santa Cruz, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, CSU Monterey Bay, Humboldt State Marine Labs, Bodega Bay Marine Labs, San Francisco State University, Pepperwood Preserve and US Geological Survey. The goal is collect fog water during summer advective fog events for the chemical characterization using an active fog collector, and to quantify fog deposition volume using a standard passive fog collector.  The main chemical constituent we are interested in fog water is mercury, in its most toxic form monomethyl mercury (MMHg)." American Geophysical Union, including 2015 AGU Fall Meeting.

Note photographs. Fog sampling station (Arizona) but similar to that installed in Montara by Pierre Herckes from the related Half Moon Bay Article.  Serving up fog from California Road Trip/motorcycle destinations, 9/16/13.

Posted by Kathy Meeh


The Local Libertarian said...

More detail here : Mercury in coastal fog linked to upwelling of deep ocean water

Anonymous said...

Gosh. Those environs and their fog blankets will freak over this.