SOURCE: Hakai Magazine

DATE: January 11, 2018

SNIP: Concentrations of mercury in marine mammals in the Arctic are 10 to 12 times greater than they were in the preindustrial period, according to a 2017 report from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme. The report also warns that the thawing of large areas of high-latitude frozen peatlands could release globally significant quantities of mercury into Arctic lakes, rivers, and oceans.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says there is a very high risk of elevated mercury levels among Arctic subsistence hunting communities that rely on seal and whale meat. The WHO estimated that consumption of mercury, a neurotoxin, may be causing an IQ loss of one to 13 points in people in these communities.

8.6 million cubic meters of ice and soil—enough to fill seven Houston Astrodomes—have been carried off from a 190-kilometer stretch of the Yukon coast between 1952 and 2011. The number of landslides, also called thaw slumps, increased 73 percent during that time.