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CAS Distinguished Visiting Professor Dr. Thorjørn Larssen from NIVA visits IGCAS TEXT SIZE: A A A

Prof. FENG XinBin awarded the certificate of CAS Distinguished Visiting Professorship to Prof. Thorjørn Larssen.

Prof. Thorjørn Larssen, Research Manager at Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)gave a seminar during his visit to Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IGCAS) on February 23rd, 2011. 

The seminar started at 3:00pm at the Lecture Hall of the State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry (SKLEG). Firstly, Prof. FENG Xinbin, the Assistant Director of IGCAS, introduced Prof. Thorjørn Larssen to the audience, and then awarded the certificate of CAS Distinguished Visiting Professorship to Prof. Larssen on behalf of IGCAS.

Prof. Thorjørn Larssen presented his seminar in two parts. In the first part, he gave a general introduction to the main research areas of NIVA. He explained that NIVA, established in 1958, with more than 200 employees, is a major player in most research fields related to the use and protection of water. Research fields include eutrophication, integrated water resources management, environmental contaminants, fish ecology and aquaculture, ecology and biodiversity, water treatment, monitoring technologies, climate change, acid rain, molecular ecology, modeling and more. NIVA also routinely performs monitoring of rivers, lakes and sea in Norway. Each year NIVA accomplishes approximately 700 projects for the environmental authorities, the private sector, the Research Council of Norway and the European Union. Prof. Larssen gave some highlights from the monitoring programs and the power long time series monitoring as basis for research. For instance he demonstrated how long term monitoring records now demonstrate global climate change by showing the temperature increase of deep water in Oslo Fjord and water in Lake Mjøsa, Norway’s largest lake in the last several decades. Prof. Larssen expressed the earnest hope to expand collaboration with the scientists of IGCAS.

The second part of Prof. Thorjørn Larssen’s seminar was titled “Mercury in Norwegian fresh water fish".  In many lakes and rivers of Norway, Sweden and Finland, the mercury levels in predatory fishes such as pike and perch are exceeding the guideline of 0.5 ppm established by World Health Organization. From 1990 to 2008, Europe has substantially reduced mercury emissions to the atmosphere. However, the mercury levels in fish from many Norwegian lakes still kept increasing during that period.  Prof. Larssen explained that the explanation for the increase is a very complex scientific issue which can be explained by quite a few hypotheses. Despite the decease of mercury emission in Europe, mercury emissions in the whole world especially in Asia continue to increase; emission and precipitation has changed; the raised air and soil temperatures may have enhanced mercury methylation and weakened demethylation; other causes may include changes in the amount of methyl mercury in food webs, and changes in fish growth rate, etc.  Prof. Larssen expected to cast new light on the above issue in the future studies.  After the report, Prof. Larssen had a heated discussion with the audience.

Prof. Thorjørn Larssen received his Ph.D. degree in environmental chemistry from University of Oslo in 1999. He has been working in NIVA since 2000, in succession holding the positions of Research Scientists, Resident Project Coordinator in China, Senior Research Scientist and now Research Manager.  He is also Adjucnt Profesor in Environmental Chemistry at the University of Oslo.  During the period 2006 - 2007, Prof. Larssen was visiting professor at Tsinghua University, China.  His broad research interests include acid rain, mercury in the environment, organic micro pollutants (POPs) and emerging environmental contaminants.  He has published more than 50 articles in environmental chemistry, biogeochemistry, environmental monitoring and environmental health. Prof. Larssen has led more than ten large environmental projects, including the Sino-Norwegian project partnered with IGCAS “Capacity building for reducing mercury pollution in China - Case Study in Guizhou province”.  Currently, the Sino-Norwegian mercury project phase II is ongoing.

(Provided by SHANG Lihai and GUO Sheng, Translated by XIAO Yi, Edited by SHANG Lihai and Thorjørn Larssen )

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