Articles | Volume 14, issue 18
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 10163–10176, 2014
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 10163–10176, 2014

Research article 24 Sep 2014

Research article | 24 Sep 2014

Intercontinental transport and deposition patterns of atmospheric mercury from anthropogenic emissions

L. Chen1, H. H. Wang1, J. F. Liu1, Y. D. Tong1, L. B. Ou1, W. Zhang2, D. Hu1, C. Chen1, and X. J. Wang1 L. Chen et al.
  • 1Ministry of Education Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • 2School of Environment and Natural Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China

Abstract. Global policies that regulate anthropogenic mercury emissions to the environment require quantitative and comprehensive source–receptor relationships for mercury emissions, transport and deposition among major continental regions. In this study, we use the GEOS-Chem global chemical transport model to establish source–receptor relationships among 11 major continental regions worldwide. Source–receptor relationships for surface mercury concentrations (SMC) show that some regions (e.g., East Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and Europe) should be responsible for their local surface Hg(II) and Hg(P) concentrations due to near-field transport and deposition contributions from their local anthropogenic emissions (up to 64 and 71% for Hg(II) and Hg(P), respectively, over East Asia). We define the region of primary influence (RPI) and the region of secondary influence (RSI) to establish intercontinental influence patterns. Results indicate that East Asia is the SMC RPI for almost all other regions, while Europe, Russia, and the Indian subcontinent also make some contributions to SMC over some receptor regions because they are dominant RSI source regions. Source–receptor relationships for mercury deposition show that approximately 16 and 17% of dry and wet deposition, respectively, over North America originate from East Asia, indicating that transpacific transport of East Asian emissions is the major foreign source of mercury deposition in North America. Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent are also important mercury deposition sources for some receptor regions because they are the dominant RSIs. We also quantify seasonal variation on mercury deposition contributions over other regions from East Asia. Results show that mercury deposition (including dry and wet) contributions from East Asia over the Northern Hemisphere receptor regions (e.g., North America, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and Middle Asia) vary seasonally, with the maximum values in summer and minimum values in winter. The opposite seasonal pattern occurs on mercury dry deposition contributions over Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

Final-revised paper