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Hydrodynamic modelling of Port Foster, Deception Island, Antarctica

  • Daniel Figueiredo (a1), Aires Dos Santos (a1), Marcos Mateus (a1) and Ligia Pinto (a1)

Over the last decade, the Antarctic continent has been the object of intensive scientific programmes. However, the emphasis of these studies rarely focuses on the Antarctic as a source of potential elements such as mercury. The release of mercury to the environment is known to occur at Deception Island, associated with volcanic activity. In this study, a 3D hydrodynamic model was used to assess the role of water circulation on the dispersion of released mercury. Sea level variation and tidal circulation data were obtained. Residence time was calculated using two different approaches. Internal tide generation in summer and winter were recognized and the barotropic tidal components obtained. Lagrangian tracers were used to depict particle circulation (simulating particulate mercury) in a three month summer simulation for barotropic and baroclinic conditions. The results show that particles accumulate in the northern and western parts of the bay. It is acknowledged that the results of the 3D model are associated with a non-negligible uncertainty, which can only be reduced with an ongoing commitment to monitoring. The findings of this study indicate that mercury accumulation is occurring in Port Foster (Deception Island), which is a potential threat to the local ecosystem.

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Antarctic Science
  • ISSN: 0954-1020
  • EISSN: 1365-2079
  • URL: /core/journals/antarctic-science
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