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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 6575-6586, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research Article
11 Jul 2013
Ten-year trends in atmospheric mercury concentrations, meteorological effects and climate variables at Zeppelin, Ny-Ålesund
T. Berg1, K. A. Pfaffhuber2, A. S. Cole3, O. Engelsen2, and A. Steffen3
1Department of Chemistry, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Gløshaugen, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
2Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), P.O. Box 100, 2027 Kjeller, Norway
3Air Quality Processes Section, Environment Canada, 4905 Dufferin St., Toronto, Ontario, M3H 5T4, Canada

Abstract. Results from ten years of gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) measurements at Zeppelin station, Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, show no overall annual trend between 2000 and 2009. Seasonal trend analysis showed significantly decreasing trends in January, February, March and June (−4.5 to −14.9 pg m−3 yr−1) and significantly increasing trends in May and July through December (1.5 to 28.7 pg m−3 yr −1). Results showed that atmospheric mercury depletion events (AMDEs) were equally distributed between April and May with only a few having been observed in March and June. A negative correlation between AMDEs and temperature is reported and supports earlier observations that AMDEs tend to occur at low temperatures. Lower concentrations of GEM were seen at lower temperatures below a threshold of 0 °C. The occurrence of AMDEs and wind direction were well correlated with the lowest GEM measured when the wind direction was from the Arctic Ocean region. Wind speed was found to not correlate with AMDEs, but the lowest GEM concentrations were observed at low wind speeds between 4 and 11 m s−1. AMDEs and relative humidity did not correlate well, but the lowest GEM levels appeared when the relative humidity was between 80 and 90%. Diurnal variation was observed especially during the month of March and is probably due to daytime snow surface emission induced by solar radiation. Relationships between GEM concentration and the Northern Hemisphere climate indices were investigated to assess if these climate parameters might reflect different atmospheric conditions that enhance or reduce spring AMDE activity. No consistent pattern was observed.

Citation: Berg, T., Pfaffhuber, K. A., Cole, A. S., Engelsen, O., and Steffen, A.: Ten-year trends in atmospheric mercury concentrations, meteorological effects and climate variables at Zeppelin, Ny-Ålesund, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 6575-6586, doi:10.5194/acp-13-6575-2013, 2013.
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