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Atmosphere 2014, 5(3), 635-668; doi:10.3390/atmos5030635

A Survey of Mercury in Air and Precipitation across Canada: Patterns and Trends

1
Air Quality Processes Research, Science & Technology Branch, Environment Canada, 4905 Dufferin St., Toronto, ON M3H 5T4, Canada
2
Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10, 1200 6th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
3
Aquatic Contaminants Research Division, Environment Canada, 105 McGill, Montreal, QC H2Y 2E7, Canada
4
Environment Canada, 45 Alderney Drive, Dartmouth, NS B2Y 2N6, Canada
5
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E9, Canada
6
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Windsor, 401 Sunset Ave., Windsor, ON N9B 3P4, Canada
7
Department of Biology and Centre for Environment and Sustainability, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond Street, London, ON N6A 5B7, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 June 2014 / Revised: 21 August 2014 / Accepted: 26 August 2014 / Published: 11 September 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Mercury)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [11630 KB, uploaded 11 September 2014]   |  

Abstract

Atmospheric mercury (Hg) measurements from across Canada were compiled and analysed as part of a national Hg science assessment. Here we update long-term trends of Hg in air and precipitation, and present more extensive measurements on patterns and trends in speciated Hg species (gaseous elemental mercury—GEM, reactive gaseous mercury—RGM, and total particulate mercury on particles <2.5 μm—TPM2.5) at several sites. A spatial analysis across Canada revealed higher air concentrations and wet deposition of Hg in the vicinity of local and regional emission sources, and lower air concentrations of Hg at mid-latitude maritime sites compared to continental sites. Diel and seasonal patterns in atmospheric GEM, RGM and TPM2.5 concentrations reflected differences in patterns of anthropogenic emissions, photo-induced surface emissions, chemistry, deposition and mixing. Concentrations of GEM decreased at rates ranging from −0.9% to −3.3% per year at all sites where measurements began in the 1990s. Concentrations of total Hg in precipitation declined up to 3.7% yr−1. Trends in RGM and TPM2.5 were less clear due to shorter measurement periods and low concentrations, however, in spring at the high Arctic site (Alert) when RGM and TPM2.5 concentrations were high, concentrations of both increased by 7%–10% per year. View Full-Text
Keywords: elemental mercury; total gaseous mercury; reactive mercury; gaseous oxidized mercury; particulate mercury; cycling of atmospheric mercury; mercury in precipitation; mercury trends elemental mercury; total gaseous mercury; reactive mercury; gaseous oxidized mercury; particulate mercury; cycling of atmospheric mercury; mercury in precipitation; mercury trends
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Cole, A.S.; Steffen, A.; Eckley, C.S.; Narayan, J.; Pilote, M.; Tordon, R.; Graydon, J.A.; St. Louis, V.L.; Xu, X.; Branfireun, B.A. A Survey of Mercury in Air and Precipitation across Canada: Patterns and Trends. Atmosphere 2014, 5, 635-668.

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