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Volume 16, issue 16 | Copyright

Special issue: Global Mercury Observation System – Atmosphere...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 10735-10763, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-10735-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 30 Aug 2016

Research article | 30 Aug 2016

Chemical cycling and deposition of atmospheric mercury in polar regions: review of recent measurements and comparison with models

Hélène Angot1, Ashu Dastoor2, Francesco De Simone3, Katarina Gårdfeldt4, Christian N. Gencarelli3, Ian M. Hedgecock3, Sarka Langer5, Olivier Magand6,1, Michelle N. Mastromonaco4, Claus Nordstrøm7, Katrine A. Pfaffhuber8, Nicola Pirrone9, Andrei Ryjkov2, Noelle E. Selin10,11, Henrik Skov7, Shaojie Song10, Francesca Sprovieri3, Alexandra Steffen12, Kenjiro Toyota12, Oleg Travnikov13, Xin Yang14, and Aurélien Dommergue1,6 Hélène Angot et al.
  • 1Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement (LGGE), 38041 Grenoble, France
  • 2Air Quality Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Dorval, Québec H9P 1J3, Canada
  • 3CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, Division of Rende, UNICAL-Polifunzionale, 87036 Rende, Italy
  • 4Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology 412 96 Göteborg, Sweden
  • 5IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, P.O. Box 530 21, 400 14 Göteborg, Sweden
  • 6CNRS, Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement (LGGE), 38041 Grenoble, France
  • 7National Environmental Research Institute, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
  • 8Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), P.O. Box 100, 2027 Kjeller, Norway
  • 9CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, Area della Ricerca di Roma 1, Monterotondo, 00015 Rome, Italy
  • 10Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 11Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 12Air Quality Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Ontario M3H 5T4, Canada
  • 13Meteorological Synthesizing Centre, East of EMEP, 2nd Roshchinsky proezd, 8/5, 115419 Moscow, Russia
  • 14British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK

Abstract. Mercury (Hg) is a worldwide contaminant that can cause adverse health effects to wildlife and humans. While atmospheric modeling traces the link from emissions to deposition of Hg onto environmental surfaces, large uncertainties arise from our incomplete understanding of atmospheric processes (oxidation pathways, deposition, and re-emission). Atmospheric Hg reactivity is exacerbated in high latitudes and there is still much to be learned from polar regions in terms of atmospheric processes. This paper provides a synthesis of the atmospheric Hg monitoring data available in recent years (2011–2015) in the Arctic and in Antarctica along with a comparison of these observations with numerical simulations using four cutting-edge global models. The cycle of atmospheric Hg in the Arctic and in Antarctica presents both similarities and differences. Coastal sites in the two regions are both influenced by springtime atmospheric Hg depletion events and by summertime snowpack re-emission and oceanic evasion of Hg. The cycle of atmospheric Hg differs between the two regions primarily because of their different geography. While Arctic sites are significantly influenced by northern hemispheric Hg emissions especially in winter, coastal Antarctic sites are significantly influenced by the reactivity observed on the East Antarctic ice sheet due to katabatic winds. Based on the comparison of multi-model simulations with observations, this paper discusses whether the processes that affect atmospheric Hg seasonality and interannual variability are appropriately represented in the models and identifies research gaps in our understanding of the atmospheric Hg cycling in high latitudes.

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This is a synthesis of the atmospheric mercury (Hg) monitoring data available in recent years (2011–2015) in the Arctic and in Antarctica along with a comparison of these observations with numerical simulations using four cutting-edge global models. Based on this comparison, we discuss whether the processes that affect atmospheric Hg seasonality and interannual variability are appropriately represented in the models, and identify remaining research gaps.
This is a synthesis of the atmospheric mercury (Hg) monitoring data available in recent years...
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