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Volume 15, issue 6
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 3125-3133, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-3125-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 3125-3133, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-3125-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 19 Mar 2015

Research article | 19 Mar 2015

Comparison of mercury concentrations measured at several sites in the Southern Hemisphere

F. Slemr1, H. Angot2, A. Dommergue2,3, O. Magand3, M. Barret2,3, A. Weigelt4, R. Ebinghaus4, E.-G. Brunke5, K. A. Pfaffhuber6, G. Edwards7, D. Howard7, J. Powell8, M. Keywood8, and F. Wang9 F. Slemr et al.
  • 1Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry, Hahn-Meitner-Weg 1, 55128 Mainz, Germany
  • 2Université Grenoble Alpes, LGGE, 38041 Grenoble, France
  • 3CNRS, LGGE, 38041 Grenoble, France
  • 4Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht (HZG), Institute of Coastal Research, Max-Planck-Strasse 1, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany
  • 5South African Weather Service c/o CSIR, P.O. Box 320, Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa
  • 6Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), P.O. Box 100, 2027 Kjeller, Norway
  • 7Macquarie University, Environmental Science, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • 8CSIRO Ocean and Atmosphere Flagship Research, Aspendale, VIC, Australia
  • 9Centre for Earth Observation Science, Department of Environment and Geography, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, R3T 2N2, Canada

Abstract. Our knowledge of the distribution of mercury concentrations in air of the Southern Hemisphere was until recently based mostly on intermittent measurements made during ship cruises. In the last few years continuous mercury monitoring has commenced at several sites in the Southern Hemisphere, providing new and more refined information. In this paper we compare mercury measurements at several remote sites in the Southern Hemisphere made over a period of at least 1 year at each location. Averages of monthly medians show similar although small seasonal variations at both Cape Point and Amsterdam Island. A pronounced seasonal variation at Troll research station in Antarctica is due to frequent mercury depletion events in the austral spring. Due to large scatter and large standard deviations of monthly average median mercury concentrations at Cape Grim, no systematic seasonal variation could be found there. Nevertheless, the annual average mercury concentrations at all sites during the 2007–2013 period varied only between 0.85 and 1.05 ng m−3. Part of this variability is likely due to systematic measurement uncertainties which we propose can be further reduced by improved calibration procedures. We conclude that mercury is much more uniformly distributed throughout the Southern Hemisphere than the distributions suggested by measurements made onboard ships. This finding implies that smaller trends can be detected in shorter time periods. We also report a change in the trend sign at Cape Point from decreasing mercury concentrations in 1996–2004 to increasing concentrations since 2007.

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• Longer-term mercury measurement in the Southern Hemisphere is compared. • Mercury, in terms of monthly and annual medians and averages, is more evenly distributed than hitherto believed. • Consequently, trends observed at one or a few sites are likely to be representative of the whole hemisphere, and smaller trends can be detected in shorter time periods. • We report a change in the trend sign at Cape Point from decreasing mercury concentrations in 1996-2004 to increasing ones since 2007.
• Longer-term mercury measurement in the Southern Hemisphere is compared. • Mercury, in...
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