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Volume 15, issue 18
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 10271–10280, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-10271-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 10271–10280, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-10271-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 16 Sep 2015

Research article | 16 Sep 2015

Statistical exploration of gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) measured at Cape Point from 2007 to 2011

A. D. Venter1, J. P. Beukes1, P. G. van Zyl1, E.-G. Brunke2, C. Labuschagne2, F. Slemr3, R. Ebinghaus4, and H. Kock4 A. D. Venter et al.
  • 1Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
  • 2South African Weather Service, P.O. Box 320, Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa
  • 3Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie, Hahn-Meitner-Weg 1, 55128 Mainz, Germany
  • 4Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Institute of Coastal Research, Max-Planck-Strasse, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany

Abstract. The authors evaluated continuous high-resolution gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) data from the Cape Point Global Atmosphere Watch (CPT GAW) station with different statistical analysis techniques. GEM data were evaluated by cluster analysis and the results indicated that two clusters, separated at 0.904 ng m−3, existed. The air mass history for the two-cluster solution was investigated by means of back-trajectory analysis. The air mass back-trajectory net result showed lower GEM concentrations originating from the sparsely populated semi-arid interior of South Africa and the marine environment, whereas higher GEM concentrations originated predominately along the coast of South Africa that most likely coincide with trade routes and industrial activities in urban areas along the coast. Considering the net result from the air mass back-trajectories, it is evident that not all low GEM concentrations are from marine origin, and similarly, not all high GEM concentrations have a terrestrial origin. Equations were developed by means of multi-linear regression (MLR) analysis that allowed for the estimation and/or prediction of atmospheric GEM concentrations from other atmospheric parameters measured at the CPT GAW station. These equations also provided some insight into the relation and interaction of GEM with other atmospheric parameters. Both measured and MLR calculated data confirm a decline in GEM concentrations at CPT GAW over the period evaluated.

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Statistical techniques applied to continuous high-resolution Hg data and back-trajectory analyses showed lower GEM concentrations originating from the sparsely populated semi-arid interior of SA and the marine environment, whereas higher GEM concentrations coincided with trade routes and industrial activities along the coast. Multi-linear regression indicated the relation of GEM with other atmospheric parameters. Measured and MLR data confirm a decline in GEM concentrations at CPT GAW station.
Statistical techniques applied to continuous high-resolution Hg data and back-trajectory...
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