Special Issue "Atmospheric Mercury: Sources, Sinks, and Transformations"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Air Quality".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 August 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Peter S. Weiss-Penzias
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
Interests: mercury; monomethyl mercury (MMHg); dimethyl mercury (DMHg); fog; cloud; marine stratus and stratocumulus; wet and dry deposition; terrestrial food web; trends; emissions fluxes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will focus on new discoveries in the field of atmospheric mercury including but not limited to studies on organo Hg compounds in the atmosphere (their sources, sinks, and transformations), studies on processes of gaseous and particle Hg evasion, studies of the processes occurring in clouds important for the atmospheric budgets of Hg, modeling studies providing updated kinetics and thermodynamics, and studies on the processes important for atmospheric deposition and accumulation in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Dr. Peter S Weiss
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • atmosphere
  • mercury
  • monomethyl mercury (MMHg)
  • dimethyl mercury (DMHg)

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessCommunication
Can the MerPAS Passive Air Sampler Discriminate Landscape, Seasonal, and Elevation Effects on Atmospheric Mercury? A Feasibility Study in Mississippi, USA
Atmosphere 2019, 10(10), 617; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10100617 (registering DOI) - 12 Oct 2019
Abstract
Accurately measuring gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) concentrations in the atmosphere is important to understand its sources, cycling, distribution, and temporal trends. The MerPAS passive air sampler from Tekran Inc. (Toronto, ON, Canada) captures GEM on sulfur-impregnated activated carbon after it passes through a [...] Read more.
Accurately measuring gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) concentrations in the atmosphere is important to understand its sources, cycling, distribution, and temporal trends. The MerPAS passive air sampler from Tekran Inc. (Toronto, ON, Canada) captures GEM on sulfur-impregnated activated carbon after it passes through a Radeillo diffusive barrier. Because they are small, relatively low in cost, and require no power, they can be deployed at multiple locations, yielding a much greater spatial resolution, albeit at coarser temporal resolution, compared to active sampling. In this study, we used the MerPAS to measure GEM concentration gradients at a mixed hardwood forest, wetland, pond, and a mowed (grass) field, all within close proximity (<500 m) to each other. Vertical profiles (0.5, 3.0, 5.5 m) were assessed during summer and winter. The sorbent was analyzed using a direct mercury analyzer. The samplers were captured between 0.90 to 2.2 ng over 2 weeks, well above the mean blank of 0.14 ng. We observed differences between the landscapes, elevation, and seasons. Nearest to the surface, GEM concentrations were lowest in the wetland (both seasons), where there was dense vegetation, and highest in the mowed field (both seasons). Generally, GEM levels increased with the elevation above the ground, except for the forest where the trend was slightly reversed. This suggests a possible net GEM deposition from the atmosphere to surfaces for three of the four landscapes. GEM concentrations were slightly higher in the winter than the summer at 5.5 m height where air masses were unimpeded by vegetation. Overall, we conclude that the MerPAS is indeed capable of measuring GEM gradients between landscapes, elevations, and seasons, if given sufficient collection time, good analytical precision, and low blank levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Mercury: Sources, Sinks, and Transformations)
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Open AccessArticle
Air/Surface Exchange of Gaseous Elemental Mercury at Different Landscapes in Mississippi, USA
Atmosphere 2019, 10(9), 538; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10090538 - 11 Sep 2019
Abstract
Mercury (Hg) is a global pollutant with human health and ecological impacts. Gas exchange between terrestrial surfaces and the atmosphere is an important route for Hg to enter and exit ecosystems. Here, we used a dynamic flux chamber to measure gaseous elemental Hg [...] Read more.
Mercury (Hg) is a global pollutant with human health and ecological impacts. Gas exchange between terrestrial surfaces and the atmosphere is an important route for Hg to enter and exit ecosystems. Here, we used a dynamic flux chamber to measure gaseous elemental Hg (GEM) exchange over different landscapes in Mississippi, including in situ measurements for a wetland (soil and water), forest floor, pond, mowed field and grass-covered lawn, as well as mesocosm experiments for three different agricultural soils. Fluxes were measured during both the summer and winter. Mean ambient levels of GEM ranged between 0.93–1.57 ng m−3. GEM emission fluxes varied diurnally with higher daytime fluxes, driven primarily by solar radiation, and lower and more stable nighttime fluxes, dependent mostly on temperature. GEM fluxes (ng m−2 h−1) were seasonally dependent with net emission during the summer (mean 2.15, range 0.32 to 4.92) and net deposition during the winter (−0.12, range −0.32 to 0.12). Total Hg concentrations in the soil ranged from 17.1 ng g−1 to 127 ng g−1 but were not a good predictor of GEM emissions. GEM flux and soil temperature were correlated over the forest floor, and the corresponding activation energy for Hg emission was ~31 kcal mol−1 using the Arrhenius equation. There were significant differences in GEM fluxes between the habitats with emissions for grass > wetland soil > mowed field > pond > wetland water ≈ forest ≈ agriculture soils. Overall, we demonstrate that these diverse landscapes serve as both sources and sinks for airborne Hg depending on the season and meteorological factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Mercury: Sources, Sinks, and Transformations)
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Open AccessArticle
Fluxes of Gaseous Elemental Mercury on a Mediterranean Coastal Grassland
Atmosphere 2019, 10(9), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10090485 - 22 Aug 2019
Abstract
Coastal rural areas can be a source of elemental mercury, but the potential influence of their topographic and climatic particularities on gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) fluxes have not been investigated extensively. In this study, gaseous elemental mercury was measured over Mediterranean coastal grassland [...] Read more.
Coastal rural areas can be a source of elemental mercury, but the potential influence of their topographic and climatic particularities on gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) fluxes have not been investigated extensively. In this study, gaseous elemental mercury was measured over Mediterranean coastal grassland located in Northern Greece from 2014 to 2015 and GEM fluxes were evaluated utilizing Monin–Obukhov similarity theory. The GEM fluxes ranged from –50.30 to 109.69 ng m−2 h−1 with a mean value equal to 10.50 ± 19.14 ng m−2 h−1. Concerning the peak events, with high positive and low negative GEM fluxes, those were recorded from the morning until the evening. Rain events were a strong contributing factor for enhanced GEM fluxes. The enhanced turbulent mixing under daytime unstable conditions led to greater evasion and positive GEM fluxes, while, during nighttime periods, the GEM evasion is lower, indicating the effect of atmospheric stability on GEM fluxes. The coastal grassland with its specific characteristics influences the GEM fluxes and this area could be characterized as a source of elemental mercury. This study is one of the rare efforts in the research community to estimate GEM fluxes in a coastal natural site based on aerodynamic gradient method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Mercury: Sources, Sinks, and Transformations)
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Open AccessArticle
Ambient Mercury Observations near a Coal-Fired Power Plant in a Western U.S. Urban Area
Atmosphere 2019, 10(4), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10040176 - 03 Apr 2019
Abstract
We report on the continuous ambient measurements of total gaseous mercury (TGM) and several ancillary air quality parameters that were collected in Colorado Springs, CO. This urban area, which is located adjacent to the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, is the second [...] Read more.
We report on the continuous ambient measurements of total gaseous mercury (TGM) and several ancillary air quality parameters that were collected in Colorado Springs, CO. This urban area, which is located adjacent to the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, is the second largest metropolitan area in Colorado and has a centrally located coal-fired power plant that installed mercury (Hg) emission controls the year prior to our study. There are few other Hg point sources within the city. Our results, which were obtained from a measurement site < 1 km from the power plant, show a distinct diel pattern in TGM, with peak concentrations occurring during the night (1.7 ± 0.3 ng m−3) and minimum concentrations mid-day (1.5 ± 0.2 ng m−3). The TGM concentrations were not correlated with wind originating from the direction of the plant or with sulfur dioxide (SO2) mixing ratios, and they were not elevated when the atmospheric mixing height was above the effective stack height. These findings suggest that the current Hg emissions from the CFPP did not significantly influence local TGM, and they are consistent with the facility’s relatively low reported annual emissions of 0.20 kg Hg per year. Instead, variability in the regional signal, diurnal meteorological conditions, and/or near-surface emission sources appears to more greatly influence TGM at this urban site. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Mercury: Sources, Sinks, and Transformations)
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