Articles | Volume 9, issue 1
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 207–220, 2009

Special issue: MILAGRO/INTEX-B 2006

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 207–220, 2009

  13 Jan 2009

13 Jan 2009

In situ measurements of speciated atmospheric mercury and the identification of source regions in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area

A. P. Rutter1, D. C. Snyder1, E. A. Stone1, J. J. Schauer1,2, R. Gonzalez-Abraham3, L. T. Molina3,4, C. Márquez5, B. Cárdenas5, and B. de Foy3,6 A. P. Rutter et al.
  • 1Environmental Chemistry and Technology Program, Univ. of Wisconsin, 660 N. Park Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA
  • 2Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, Univ. of Wisconsin, 2601 Agriculture Drive, Madison, WI 53718, USA
  • 3Molina Center for Energy and the Environment 2, 3262 Holiday Ct. Suite 201, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
  • 4Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02319, USA
  • 5Centro Nacional de Investigación y Capacitación Ambiental CENICA, Instituto Nacional de Ecología-SEMARNAT., Periférico 5000, Mexico City, 04530, Mexico
  • 6Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Saint Louis University, 3642 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108, USA

Abstract. In order to expand the currently limited understanding of atmospheric mercury source-receptor relationships in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area, real time measurements of atmospheric mercury were made at a downtown urban site, and a rural site on the outskirts of Mexico City, during March 2006.

Numerous short-lived increases in particulate mercury (PHg) and reactive gaseous mercury (RGM) concentrations were observed at the urban site during the 17 day study, and less frequent increases in gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) concentrations were measured at both the urban and rural sites. The episodic increases observed were attributed to plume impacts from industrial point source emissions in and around Mexico City. Average concentrations and standard deviations measured during the study were as follows: i) urban site; PHg=187±300 pg m−3, RGM=62±64 pg m−3, GEM=7.2±4.8 ng m−3, and; ii) rural site; GEM=5.0±2.8 ng m−3.

Several source regions of atmospheric mercury to the urban and rural sites were determined using Concentration Field Analysis, in which atmospheric mercury measurements were combined with back trajectory data to determine source regions. Only some source regions correlated to mercury emission sources listed in the Federal Pollutant Release and Transfer Register, leaving the rest unaccounted for. Contributions of anthropogenic mercury point sources in and around Mexico City to concentration averages measured at the urban site during the study were estimated to be: 93±3% of reactive mercury (PHg and RGM), and; 81±0.4% of GEM. Point source contributions to GEM measured at the rural site were 72±1%. GEM and reactive mercury (PHg+RGM) were not found to correlate with biomass burning at either of the measurement sites.

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