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Comparison of Atmospheric Mercury Speciation at a Coastal and an Urban Site in Southeastern Texas, USA

1
Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Houston, 3507 Cullen Boulevard, Houston, TX 77204, USA
2
Department of Physics, University of Toronto, 60 Saint George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1A7, Canada
3
Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010073
Received: 18 December 2019 / Revised: 31 December 2019 / Accepted: 4 January 2020 / Published: 8 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Air Quality)
Sixteen months of continuous measurements and the analysis of atmospheric mercury (gaseous elemental mercury GEM, gaseous oxidized mercury GOM, and particulate bound mercury PBM) under urban and coastal settings were conducted in Southeastern Texas. At the urban site, the GEM mean mixing ratio was 185 ppqv, 5%–10% higher than the Northern Hemisphere GEM background level. GOM and PBM mixing ratios were as much as six times higher than their background level. The coastal site GEM mean mixing ratio was 165 ppqv, higher than other coastal sites located in the Northern Hemisphere. GOM and PBM mean mixing ratios at the coastal site were 0.75 ppqv and 0.58 ppqv. The urban site had a higher frequency of high mercury events (>300 ppqv) compared to the coastal site. The diurnal patterns were found for both sites: In the urban environment, GEM accumulated to the maximum mixing ratio just after sunrise and decreased to the minimum mixing ratio in late afternoon. In the coastal environment, GEM decreased at night reaching its minimum mixing ratio before sunrise. The relationship between atmospheric mercury species and meteorological parameters was investigated. An examination of the relationship between atmospheric mercury species and key trace gases was conducted as well, showing that the concurrence of GEM, CO2, CO, CH4, and SO2 maximum mixing ratios was notable and provided evidence they may originate from the same emission source. The coastal site was at times influenced by polluted air from urban Houston and the cleaner Gulf of Mexico marine air at other times. View Full-Text
Keywords: atmosphere; mercury; emissions; urban; coastal; diurnal; seasonal; meteorology atmosphere; mercury; emissions; urban; coastal; diurnal; seasonal; meteorology
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Griggs, T.; Liu, L.; Talbot, R.W.; Torres, A.; Lan, X. Comparison of Atmospheric Mercury Speciation at a Coastal and an Urban Site in Southeastern Texas, USA. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 73.

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