Natural and anthropogenic atmospheric mercury in the European Arctic: a fractionation study 1Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Høgskoleringen 5, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
01 Jul 2011
2Air Quality Research Division , Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, 2121 Trans Canada Highway, Dorval, Quebec, H9P 1J3, Canada
3Norwegian Institute for Air Research, The Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
4Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Allegt. 70, 5007 Bergen, Norway
5Norwegian Institute for Air Research, P.O. Box 100, 2027 Kjeller, Norway
Received: 15 September 2010 – Published in Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.: 10 November 2010 Abstract. Gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) is converted to reactive gaseous mercury
(RGM) during springtime Atmospheric Mercury Depletion Events (AMDE).
Revised: 07 June 2011 – Accepted: 21 June 2011 – Published: 01 July 2011
This study reports the longest time series of GEM, RGM and particle-bound
mercury (PHg) concentrations from a European Arctic site. From 27 April 2007
until 31 December 2008 composite GEM, RGM and PHg measurements were
conducted in Ny-Ålesund (78° 54′ N, 11° 53′ E). The average
concentrations of the complete dataset were 1.6 ± 0.3 ng m−3,
8 ± 13 pg m−3 and 8 ± 25 pg m−3 for GEM, RGM and PHg, respectively.
For the complete dataset the atmospheric mercury distribution was 99 %
GEM, whereas RGM and PHg constituted <1 %. The study revealed a seasonal
distribution of GEM, RGM and PHg previously undiscovered in the Arctic.
Increased concentrations of RGM were observed during the insolation period
from March through August, while increased PHg concentrations occurred almost
exclusively during the spring AMDE period in March and April. The elevated
RGM concentrations suggest that atmospheric RGM deposition also occurs
during the polar summer. RGM was suggested as the precursor for the PHg
existence, but long range transportation of PHg has to be taken into
consideration. Still there remain gaps in the knowledge of how RGM and PHg
are related in the environment. RGM and PHg accounted for on average about
10 % of the depleted GEM during AMDEs. Although speculative, the fairly
low RGM and PHg concentrations supported by the predominance of PHg with
respect to RGM and no clear meteorological regime associated with these
AMDEs would all suggest the events to be of non-local origin. With some
exceptions, no clear meteorological regime was associated with the GEM, RGM
and PHg concentrations throughout the year.
Citation: Steen, A. O., Berg, T., Dastoor, A. P., Durnford, D. A., Engelsen, O., Hole, L. R., and Pfaffhuber, K. A.: Natural and anthropogenic atmospheric mercury in the European Arctic: a fractionation study, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 6273-6284, doi:10.5194/acp-11-6273-2011, 2011.