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Atmosphere 2013, 4(4), 472-493; doi:10.3390/atmos4040472

Total Gaseous Mercury Concentration Measurements at Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada

* ,
Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment Canada, 9250 49 St NW, Edmonton, AB T6B 1K5, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 15 November 2013 / Accepted: 26 November 2013 / Published: 13 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Mercury)
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Observations are described from total gaseous mercury (TGM) concentrations measured at the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) Fort McMurray—Patricia McInnes air quality monitoring station—from 21 October 2010 through 31 May 2013, inclusively. Fort McMurray is approximately 380 km north-northeast of Edmonton, Alberta, and approximately 30 km south of major Canadian oil sands developments. The average TGM concentration over the period of this study was 1.45 ± 0.18 ng∙m−3. Principal component analysis suggests that observed TGM concentrations are correlated with meteorological conditions including temperature, relative humidity, and solar radiation, and also ozone concentration. There is no significant correlation between ambient concentrations of TGM and anthropogenic pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides (NOX) and sulphur dioxide (SO2). Principal component analysis also shows that the highest TGM concentrations observed are a result of forest fire smoke near the monitoring station. Back trajectory analysis highlights the importance of long-range transport, indicating that unseasonably high TGM concentrations are generally associated with air from the southeast and west, while unseasonably low TGM concentrations are a result of arctic air moving over the monitoring station. In general, TGM concentration appears to be driven by diel and seasonal trends superimposed over a combination of long-range transport and regional surface-air flux of gaseous mercury.
Keywords: mercury; total gaseous mercury; air quality; principal component analysis; HYSPLIT; Fort McMurray; oil sands mercury; total gaseous mercury; air quality; principal component analysis; HYSPLIT; Fort McMurray; oil sands
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Parsons, M.T.; McLennan, D.; Lapalme, M.; Mooney, C.; Watt, C.; Mintz, R. Total Gaseous Mercury Concentration Measurements at Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Atmosphere 2013, 4, 472-493.

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