• Mercury in European topsoils: Anthropogenic sources, stocks and fluxes

    Map of Hg stock (g ha−1) in European topsoils.

    Panos Panagosa, Martin Jiskrab, Pasquale Borrellic, Leonidas Liakosa, Cristiano Ballabioa. 2021. “Mercury in European Topsoils: Anthropogenic Sources, Stocks and Fluxes.” Environmental Research, June, 111556. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.111556.

    a. European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy
    b. Environmental Geosciences, University of Basel, Switzerland
    c. Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Pavia, 27100, Pavia, Italy

    Mercury (Hg) is one of the most dangerous pollutants worldwide. In the European Union (EU), we recently estimated the Hg distribution in topsoil using 21,591 samples and a series of geo-physical inputs. In this manuscript, we investigate the impact of mining activities, chrol-alkali industries and other diffuse pollution sources as primary anthropogenic sources of Hg hotspots in the EU. Based on Hg measured soil samples, we modelled the Hg pool in EU topsoils, which totals about 44.8 Gg, with an average density of 103 g ha−1. As a following step, we coupled the estimated Hg stocks in topsoil with the pan-European assessment of soil loss due to water erosion and sediment distribution. In the European Union and UK, we estimated that about 43 Mg Hg yr−1 are displaced by water erosion and c. a. 6 Mg Hg yr−1 are transferred with sediments to river basins and eventually released to coastal Oceans. The Mediterranean Sea receives almost half (2.94 Mg yr−1) of the Hg fluxes to coastal oceans and it records the highest quantity of Hg sediments. This is the result of elevated soil Hg concentration and high erosion rates in the catchments draining into the Mediterranean Sea. This work contributes to new knowledge in support of the policy development in the EU on the Zero Pollution Action Plan and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) 3.9 and 14.1, which both have as an objective to reduce soil pollution by 2030.

    Link to Dataset: Mercury content in the European Union topsoil

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  • An in-depth statistical analysis of the rainstorms erosivity in Europe

    Gini coefficients (G) for the 1181 stations across Europe using all rainfall erosive events included in the REDES database. As a background map, the six K-means clusters as defined by Ballabio et al. (2017) are shown.

    Nejc Bezaka, Matjaž Mikoša, Pasquale Borrellibc, Leonidas Liakosd, Panos Panagosd. 2021. “An In-Depth Statistical Analysis of the Rainstorms Erosivity in Europe.” CATENA 206 (November): 105577. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2021.105577.

    a .University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, Slovenia
    b. Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Pavia, Italy
    c. Department of Biological Environment, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Republic of Korea
    d. European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy

    Heavy rainstorms play a central role in the water-driving soil erosion processes. An in-depth knowledge about temporal and spatial erosivity of rainfall events is required to gain a better understanding of soil erosion processes and optimize soil protection measures efficiency. In this study, the spatiotemporal distribution of more than 300,000 erosive events measured at 1181 locations, part of the Rainfall Erosivity Database at European Scale (REDES) database, is studied to shed some new light on the rainfall erosivity in Europe. Rainfall erosive events are statistically investigated through the Lorenz curve and derived coefficients such as the Gini coefficient (G). Additionally, seasonal characteristics of the most and the less erosive events are compared to investigate seasonal characteristics of rainstorms across Europe. The G shows largest values of inequality of the inter-annual temporal distribution of the rainfall erosive events in the Alpine region, mostly due to the large number of rainfall events with smaller rainfall erosivity. While for other parts of Europe, the inequality described by the G is mostly due to a small number of high erosive events. The G slightly decreases from south to north while no clear regional patterns can be detected. Additionally, in Europe, on average 11% (ranging from 1 to 24%) of all erosive events contribute to form 50% of the total rainfall erosivity. Furthermore, higher erosive rainfall events tend to occur later in the year compared to less erosive events that take place earlier. To our knowledge, this study is the first one addressing event scale rainfall erosivity distribution using more than 300,000 rainfall erosivity events and covering almost a whole continent. Scientifically our findings represent a major step towards large-scale process-based erosion modelling while, practically, they provide new elements that can support national and local soil erosion monitoring programs.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
This work by Leonidas Liakos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.