Special Issue "Atmospheric Metal Pollution"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Xinbin Feng
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry (SKLEG), Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang 550002, China
Interests: mercury biogeochemical cycling; mercury exposure and health; mercury stable isotopes; remediation of mercury contaminated lands
Prof. Dr. Jerry Lin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center for Advances on Water and Air Quality, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX 77710-0088, USA
Interests: mercury chemistry; long-range tranposrt of mercury; atmospheric mercury modeling; mercury removal from water and flue gases

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Toxic metals can be transported in the atmosphere as gas or/and fine particulates over long distances, causing adverse impacts to both terrestrial and aquatic environments in remote areas after depositing to the Earth’s surface. Coal combustion, metal smelting and other human activities release a large amount of toxic metals into the atmosphere. Understanding the sources of atmospheric metal pollution and transport and deposition pathways are crucial to understanding the environmental impacts of toxic metal pollution on ecosystems.

This Special Issue will cover all aspects of atmospheric metal pollution issues, such as the emission inventory of toxic metals to the atmosphere, the speciation and size distributions of toxic metals in the atmosphere, the isotopic compositions of metals in airborne particulate matters, the source attributions of toxic metals in the atmosphere, as well as local-, regional- and global-scale transport modelling of toxic metals in the atmosphere.

Dr. Xinbin Feng
Dr. Jerry Lin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Toxic metals
  • Mercury
  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Antimony
  • Emission inventory
  • Long range transport
  • PM5
  • Modeling

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Reconstruction of Atmospheric Lead Pollution During the Roman Period Recorded in Belgian Ombrotrophic Peatlands Cores
Atmosphere 2018, 9(7), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9070253 - 05 Jul 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Two peat cores from two bogs were used to record changes in the atmospheric Pb accumulation rate (Pb AR) in Belgium during the Roman period. The two records were compared to assess the reliability of peat cores as archives of atmospheric Pb deposition [...] Read more.
Two peat cores from two bogs were used to record changes in the atmospheric Pb accumulation rate (Pb AR) in Belgium during the Roman period. The two records were compared to assess the reliability of peat cores as archives of atmospheric Pb deposition and to establish histories of atmospheric emissions from anthropogenic sources. To address these issues we analyzed Pb concentration and its isotopes, using ICP-MS, LA-ICP-MS and MC-ICP-MS in two peat sections, spanning 1000 years each. Lead concentrations in the two cores range from 0.1 to 60 μg g−1, with the maxima between 15 and 60 μg g−1. The average natural background of Pb AR varies between 0.003 and 0.07 mg m−2 yr−1 and the maximum ranges from 0.7 to 1.2 mg m−2 yr−1 between 50 BC and AD 215. The highest Pb AR exceed the pre-Roman period values by a factor of 17–80. Pb isotopic composition indicates that mining and metallurgical activities were the predominant sources of pollution during the Roman period. The Pb AR and chronologies in the Belgian peat cores are consistent with those reported for other continental archives such as lake sediments, peat and ice cores. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Metal Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
Ship-Based Measurements of Atmospheric Mercury Concentrations over the Baltic Sea
Atmosphere 2018, 9(2), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9020056 - 09 Feb 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Mercury is a toxic pollutant emitted from both natural sources and through human activities. A global interest in atmospheric mercury has risen ever since the discovery of the Minamata disease in 1956. Properties of gaseous elemental mercury enable long range transport, which can [...] Read more.
Mercury is a toxic pollutant emitted from both natural sources and through human activities. A global interest in atmospheric mercury has risen ever since the discovery of the Minamata disease in 1956. Properties of gaseous elemental mercury enable long range transport, which can cause pollution even in pristine environments. Gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) was measured from winter 2016 to spring 2017 over the Baltic Sea. A Tekran 2357A mercury analyser was installed aboard the research and icebreaking vessel Oden for the purpose of continuous measurements of gaseous mercury in ambient air. Measurements were performed during a campaign along the Swedish east coast and in the Bothnian Bay near Lulea during the icebreaking season. Data was evaluated from Gothenburg using plotting software, and back trajectories for air masses were calculated. The GEM average of 1.36 ± 0.054 ng/m3 during winter and 1.29 ± 0.140 ng/m3 during spring was calculated as well as a total average of 1.36 ± 0.16 ng/m3. Back trajectories showed a possible correlation of anthropogenic sources elevating the mercury background level in some areas. There were also indications of depleted air, i.e., air with lower concentrations than average, being transported from the Arctic to northern Sweden, resulting in a drop in GEM levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Metal Pollution)
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Open AccessCommunication
Lead Levels in the Bones of Small Rodents from Alpine and Subalpine Habitats in the Tian-Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan
Atmosphere 2018, 9(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9020035 - 23 Jan 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
High mountain areas are an appropriate indicator of anthropogenic lead (Pb), which can reach remote mountain ranges through long distance atmospheric transport. We compared the content of Pb in ecologically equivalent rodent species from Tian-Shan with European mountain ranges including the Tatra, Vitosha [...] Read more.
High mountain areas are an appropriate indicator of anthropogenic lead (Pb), which can reach remote mountain ranges through long distance atmospheric transport. We compared the content of Pb in ecologically equivalent rodent species from Tian-Shan with European mountain ranges including the Tatra, Vitosha and Rila mountains. We used bone tissues from terminal tail vertebrae of small rodents for detection of Pb levels through electro-thermal atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS). The tailbones of Tian-Shan rodents had significantly lower Pb levels than snow voles from the Tatra Mountains, but there was no significant difference in comparison with the Vitosha and Rila mountains. We can conclude that Tian-Shan shows lower pollution by Pb than the Tatras, which may be a result of prolonged industrialization of north-western Europe and strongly prevailing west winds in this region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Metal Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
A Two-Year Study on Mercury Fluxes from the Soil under Different Vegetation Cover in a Subtropical Region, South China
Atmosphere 2018, 9(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9010030 - 19 Jan 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
In order to reveal the mercury (Hg) emission and exchange characteristics at the soil–air interface under different vegetation cover types, the evergreen broad-leaf forest, shrub forest, grass, and bare lands of Simian Mountain National Nature Reserve were selected as the sampling sites. The [...] Read more.
In order to reveal the mercury (Hg) emission and exchange characteristics at the soil–air interface under different vegetation cover types, the evergreen broad-leaf forest, shrub forest, grass, and bare lands of Simian Mountain National Nature Reserve were selected as the sampling sites. The gaseous elementary mercury (GEM) fluxes at the soil–air interface under the four vegetation covers were continuously monitored for two years, and the effect of temperature and solar radiation on GEM fluxes were also investigated. Results showed that the GEM fluxes at the soil–air interface under different vegetation cover types had significant difference (p < 0.05). The bare land had the maximum GEM flux (15.32 ± 10.44 ng·m−2·h−1), followed by grass land (14.73 ± 18.84 ng·m−2·h−1), and shrub forest (12.83 ± 10.22 ng·m−2·h−1), and the evergreen broad-leaf forest had the lowest value (11.23 ± 11.13 ng·m−2·h−1). The GEM fluxes at the soil–air interface under different vegetation cover types showed similar regularity in seasonal variation, which mean that the GEM fluxes in summer were higher than that in winter. In addition, the GEM fluxes at the soil–air interface under the four vegetation covers in Mt. Simian had obvious diurnal variations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Metal Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Patterns and Temporal Changes in Atmospheric-Mercury Deposition for the Midwestern USA, 2001–2016
Atmosphere 2018, 9(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9010029 - 18 Jan 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Spatial patterns and temporal changes in atmospheric-mercury (Hg) deposition were examined in a five-state study area in the Midwestern USA where 32% of the stationary sources of anthropogenic Hg emissions in the continental USA were located. An extensive monitoring record for wet and [...] Read more.
Spatial patterns and temporal changes in atmospheric-mercury (Hg) deposition were examined in a five-state study area in the Midwestern USA where 32% of the stationary sources of anthropogenic Hg emissions in the continental USA were located. An extensive monitoring record for wet and dry Hg deposition was compiled for 2001–2016, including 4666 weekly precipitation samples at 13 sites and 27 annual litterfall-Hg samples at 7 sites. This study is the first to examine these Hg data for the Midwestern USA. The median annual precipitation-Hg deposition at the study sites was 10.4 micrograms per square meter per year (µg/m2/year) and ranged from 5.8 µg/m2/year to 15.0 µg/m2/year. The median annual Hg concentration was 9.4 ng/L. Annual litterfall-Hg deposition had a median of 16.1 µg/m2/year and ranged from 9.7 to 23.4 µg/m2/year. Isopleth maps of annual precipitation-Hg deposition indicated a recurring spatial pattern similar to one revealed by statistical analysis of weekly precipitation-Hg deposition. In that pattern, high Hg deposition in southeastern Indiana was present each year, frequently extending to southern Illinois. Most of central Indiana and central Illinois had similar Hg deposition. Areas with comparatively lower annual Hg deposition were observed in Michigan and Ohio for many years and frequently included part of northern Indiana. The area in southern Indiana where high Hg deposition predominated had the highest number of extreme episodes of weekly Hg deposition delivering up to 15% of the annual Hg load from precipitation in a single week. Modeled 48-h back trajectories indicated air masses for these episodes often arrived from the south and southwest, crossing numerous stationary sources of Hg emissions releasing from 23 to more than 300 kg Hg per year. This analysis suggests that local and regional, rather than exclusively continental or global Hg emissions were likely contributing to the extreme episodes and at least in part, to the spatial patterns of precipitation-Hg deposition in the study area. Statistically significant temporal decreases in weekly precipitation-Hg concentrations in the study area between the periods 2001–2013 and 2014–2016 were observed, coinciding with reported reductions in Hg emissions in the USA required by implementation of national Hg emissions-control rules. These decreases in atmospheric-Hg concentrations are believed to have resulted in the reduced atmospheric-Hg deposition recorded because precipitation depths between the two periods were not significantly different. The Hg-monitoring data for the study area identified an atmospheric deposition response to decreased local and regional Hg emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Metal Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating Uncertainty in Global Mercury Emission Source and Deposition Receptor Relationships
Atmosphere 2017, 8(12), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos8120236 - 29 Nov 2017
Cited by 4
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Metal Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
Trace Metals in Cloud Water Sampled at the Puy De Dôme Station
Atmosphere 2017, 8(11), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos8110225 - 17 Nov 2017
Cited by 1
Abstract
Concentrations of 33 metal elements were determined by ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry) analysis for 24 cloud water samples (corresponding to 10 cloud events) collected at the puy de Dôme station. Clouds present contrasted chemical composition with mainly marine and continental characteristics; [...] Read more.
Concentrations of 33 metal elements were determined by ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry) analysis for 24 cloud water samples (corresponding to 10 cloud events) collected at the puy de Dôme station. Clouds present contrasted chemical composition with mainly marine and continental characteristics; for some cloud events, a further anthropogenic source can be superimposed on the background level. In this context, measurements of trace metals may help to evaluate the impact of anthropogenic and natural sources on the cloud and to better discriminate the origin of the air masses. The metal concentrations in the samples are low (between 16.4 µg L−1 and 1.46 mg L−1). This could be explained by the remoteness of the puy de Dôme site from local sources. Trace metals are then used to confirm and refine a previous sample classification. A principal component analysis (PCA) using the pH value and the concentrations of Cl, NO3, SO42−, Na+ and NH4+ is performed considering 24 cloud samples. This first analysis shows that 18 samples are of marine origin and 6 samples are classified as continental. The same statistical approach is used adding trace metal concentration. Zn and Mg elements are the most abundant trace metals for all clouds. A higher concentration of Cd is mainly associated to clouds from marine origins. Cu, As, Tl and Sb elements are rather found in the continental samples than in the marine ones. Mg, V, Mn and Rb elements mainly found in soil particles are also more concentrated in the samples from continental air mass. This new PCA including trace metal confirms the classification between marine and continental air masses but also indicates that one sample presenting low pH and high concentrations of SO42−, Fe, Pb and Cu could be rather attributed to a polluted event. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Metal Pollution)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Recent Advances in Atmospheric Chemistry of Mercury
Atmosphere 2018, 9(2), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9020076 - 21 Feb 2018
Cited by 5Correction
Abstract
Mercury is one of the most toxic metals and has global importance due to the biomagnification and bioaccumulation of organomercury via the aquatic food web. The physical and chemical transformations of various mercury species in the atmosphere strongly influence their composition, phase, transport [...] Read more.
Mercury is one of the most toxic metals and has global importance due to the biomagnification and bioaccumulation of organomercury via the aquatic food web. The physical and chemical transformations of various mercury species in the atmosphere strongly influence their composition, phase, transport characteristics and deposition rate to the ground. Modeling efforts to evaluate the mercury cycling in the environment require an accurate understanding of atmospheric mercury chemistry. We focus this article on recent studies (since 2015) on improving our understanding of the atmospheric chemistry of mercury. We discuss recent advances in (i) determining the dominant atmospheric oxidant of elemental mercury (Hg0); (ii) understanding the oxidation reactions of Hg0 by halogen atoms and by nitrate radical (NO3); (iii) the aqueous reduction of oxidized mercury compounds (HgII); and (iv) the heterogeneous reactions of Hg on atmospherically-relevant surfaces. The need for future research to improve understanding of the fate and transformation of mercury in the atmosphere is also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Metal Pollution)
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Other

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Open AccessCorrection
Correction: Recent Advances in Atmospheric Chemistry of Mercury
Atmosphere 2018, 9(6), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9060211 - 31 May 2018
Abstract
The published paper [1] has been updated to remove instances of copied text from other publications [2–6].[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Metal Pollution)
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