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Open AccessArticle

Estimating Uncertainty in Global Mercury Emission Source and Deposition Receptor Relationships

1
CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, Division of Rende, UNICAL Polifuzionale, 87036 Rende, Italy
2
CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, Area della Ricerca Roma 1, Via Salaria, 00015 Monterotondo, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2017, 8(12), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos8120236
Received: 24 October 2017 / Revised: 23 November 2017 / Accepted: 24 November 2017 / Published: 29 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Metal Pollution)
Establishing mercury (Hg) source-receptor (SR) relationship matrices provides a tool to improve the understanding of the geographic relationship between regions of Hg release and its eventual deposition. SR relationship matrices are therefore a useful starting point for the development of policies aimed at reducing the impact of Hg emissions from anthropogenic activities (Hganthr) on sensitive ecosystems and areas potentially at risk of Hg contamination. A global Chemical Transport Model (CTM) has been used to simulate the emission, transport and fate of Hganthr from 12 source regions, considering a range of uncertainty in the modelled chemical and physical processes. This ensemble of simulations gives an estimate of the Hg deposition which derives from each source region, as well as an estimate of the uncertainty of the calculated deposition flux. The uncertainty has been calculated using the bootstrap method to estimate this uncertainty in terms of the normalised confidence interval amplitude of the mean (NCIAM). Within the calculated confidence ranges, for almost all regions the contribution to the Hg deposition flux from remote sources is greater than that from domestic sources. Europe and South Asia, where the contributions are statistically indistinguishable, are exceptions, as is East Asia, with local sources dominating the Hg deposition flux. East Asia is the single most important remote source region for most receptor regions. The results yield such high uncertainties in the deposition flux for many receptor regions that the results are unlikely to be taken into consideration by policy makers. This uncertainty is particularly relevant when considering the “domestic” contribution to regional deposition, highlighting the need for more studies to resolve remaining uncertainties in the atmospheric Hg cycle, and Hganthr emission inventories. View Full-Text
Keywords: mercury; source-receptor; uncertainty; modelling mercury; source-receptor; uncertainty; modelling
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De Simone, F.; Hedgecock, I.M.; Carbone, F.; Cinnirella, S.; Sprovieri, F.; Pirrone, N. Estimating Uncertainty in Global Mercury Emission Source and Deposition Receptor Relationships. Atmosphere 2017, 8, 236.

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