Total atmospheric mercury deposition in forested areas in South Korea
- 1Department of Environmental Health, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 08826, South Korea
- 2Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 08826, South Korea
- 3Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY13699, USA
Abstract. In this study, mercury (Hg) was sampled weekly in dry and wet deposition and throughfall and monthly in litterfall, and as it was volatilized from soil from August 2008 to February 2010 to identify the factors influencing the amount of atmospheric Hg deposited to forested areas in a temperate deciduous forest in South Korea. For this location there was no significant correlation between the estimated monthly dry deposition flux (litterfall + throughfall – wet deposition) (6.7 µg m−2 yr−1) and directly measured dry deposition (9.9 µg m−2 yr−1) likely due primarily to Hg losses from the litterfall collector. Dry deposition fluxes in cold seasons (fall and winter) were lower than in warmer seasons (spring and summer). The volume-weighted mean (VWM) Hg concentrations in both precipitation and throughfall were highest in winter, likely due to increased scavenging by snow events. Since South Korea experiences abundant rainfall in summer, VWM Hg concentrations in summer were lower than in other seasons. Litterfall fluxes were highest in the late fall to early winter, when leaves were dropped from the trees (September to November). The cumulative annual Hg emission flux from soil was 6.8 µg m−2 yr−1. Based on these data, the yearly deposition fluxes of Hg calculated using two input approaches (wet deposition + dry deposition or throughfall + litterfall) were 6.8 and 3.6 µg m−2 yr−1, respectively. This is the first reported study which measured the amount of atmospheric Hg deposited to forested areas in South Korea, and thus our results provide useful information to compare against data related to Hg fate and transport in this part of the world.