Atmospheric Mercury: A decade of observations on Amsterdam Island

(credit: TAAF – Terres australes et antarctiques françaises)

The Minamata Convention, which came into force in 2017, aims to protect human health and the environment from the harmful effects of mercury by reducing associated anthropogenic emissions and environmental levels. The Conference of the Parties must periodically evaluate the effectiveness of the Convention using existing monitoring data and observed trends. Monitoring atmospheric mercury levels has been proposed as a key indicator. However, data gaps exist, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere. The article relayed in the INSU brief (link) presents over a decade of atmospheric mercury monitoring data on Amsterdam Island (TAAF – Indian Ocean). The data (ambient air concentrations of elemental and oxidized mercury gas species + annual wet deposition fluxes of total mercury) are made available to the community to support decision-making and scientific advances in relation to the dedicated international issue. It is important to note that this work is complemented by parallel monitoring of some of these compounds at OPAR-Maido (OSU-Réunion) since 2017. The data collected at OPAR-Maido, which are not shown in this article, will strengthen the monitoring of these compounds at the scale of the Indian Ocean basin, and contribute to a better understanding of the current state and future of this pollutant in this part of the world.

Complete reference : Magand, O., Angot, H., Bertrand, Y., Sonke, J.E., Laffont, L., Duperray, S., Collignon, L., Boulanger, D., Dommergue, A., 2023. Over a decade of atmospheric mercury monitoring at Amsterdam island in the French southern and Antarctic Lands. Sci Data 10, 836 (2023).

Local contact : Olivier Magand, OSU-Réunion (

External contacts : Aurélien Dommergue – Research professor at Grenoble Alpes University’s Institute of Environmental Geosciences (IGE) (, Hélène Angot – CNRS researcher at the Institute of Environmental Geosciences (IGE – OSUG) (, Yann Bertrand – CNRS Instrumentation Engineer at the Institute for Environmental Geosciences (IGE) (

Overview of atmospheric mercury species monitored on the subtropical island of Amsterdam since 2012. Gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) is the atmospheric species currently monitored in parallel to OPAR-Maido since 2017. Figure taken from Magand et al. 2023.