Spatial and temporal distributions of total and methyl mercury in precipitation in core urban areas, Chongqing, China
The spatial and temporal distribution patterns of mercury (Hg) in precipitation were investigated in the core urban areas of Chongqing, China. During the period from July 2010 to June 2011, total mercury (THg) and methyl mercury (MeHg) concentrations in precipitation were analysed from three sampling sites. Our results suggested that the volume-weight mean THg and MeHg concentrations in precipitation were 30.67 ng l −1 and 0.31 ng l −1, respectively. The proportion of MeHg in THg ranged from 0.1% to 7.6% with a mean value of 1.3%. THg and MeHg concentrations showed seasonal variations, while the highest THg value was measured in winter. Contrarily, the highest MeHg concentration was observed in autumn. Additionally, a geographically gradual decline of THg concentration in precipitation was observed from the downtown to the suburb, then to the controlled site in the city. 5 mm rainfall might be a threshold for the full wash-out capability. Rainfall above 5 mm may have a diluting effect for the concentrations of THg. Moreover, the current research implies that the coal combustion and motor vehicles could be the dominant sources for Hg in the precipitation.