Characteristics of atmospheric mercury in a suburban area of east China: sources, formation mechanisms, and regional transport

Qin, Xiaofei; Wang, Xiaohao; Shi, Yijie; Yu, Guangyuan; Zhao, Na; Lin, Yanfen; Fu, Qingyan; Wang, Dongfang; Xie, Zhouqing; Deng, Congrui; Huang, Kan

Speciated atmospheric mercury including gaseous elemental mercury (GEM), gaseous oxidized mercury (GOM), and particulate-bound mercury (PBM) were measured continuously for a 1-year period at a suburban site, representing a regional transport intersection zone, in east China. Annual mean concentrations of GEM, PBM, and GOM reached 2.77 ng m−3, 60.8 pg m−3, and 82.1 pg m−3, respectively. GEM concentrations were elevated in all the seasons except autumn. High mercury concentrations were related to winds from the south, southwest, and north of the measurement site. Combining analysis results from using various source apportionment methods, it was found that GEM concentration was higher when quasi-local sources dominated over long-range transport. Six source factors belonging to the anthropogenic sources of GEM were identified, including the common sectors previously identified (industrial and biomass burning, coal combustion, iron and steel production, cement production, and incineration), as well as an additional factor of shipping emissions (accounting for 19.5 % of the total), which was found to be important in east China where marine vessel shipping activities are intense. Emissions of GEM from natural surfaces were also found to be as important as those from anthropogenic sources for GEM observed at this site. Concurrences of high GOM concentrations with elevated O3 and temperature, along with the lagged variations in GEM and GOM during daytime demonstrated that the very high GOM concentrations were partially ascribed to intense in situ oxidation of GEM. Strong gas–particle partitioning was also identified when PM2.5 was above a threshold value, in which case GOM decreased with increasing PM2.5.

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Zitierform:

Qin, Xiaofei / Wang, Xiaohao / Shi, Yijie / et al: Characteristics of atmospheric mercury in a suburban area of east China: sources, formation mechanisms, and regional transport. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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