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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-912
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-912
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  24 Feb 2020

24 Feb 2020

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A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal ACP and is expected to appear here in due course.

The variability in Gaseous Elemental Mercury at Villum Research Station, Station Nord in North Greenland from 1999 to 2017

Henrik Skov1, Jens Hjorth1, Claus Nordstrøm1, Bjarne Jensen1, Christel Christoffersen1, Maria Bech Poulsen1, Jesper Baldtzer Liisberg1,2, David Beddows3, Manuel Dall'Osto4, and Jesper Christensen1 Henrik Skov et al.
  • 1iClimate, Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
  • 2Physics of Ice, Climate and Earth, University of Copenhagen, Tagensvej 16, 2200 København N, Denmark
  • 3Centre for Atmospheric Science Division of Environmental Health & Risk Management School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK
  • 4Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM) Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Pg. Marítim de la Barceloneta 37–49, 08003, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract. Mercury is ubiquitous in the atmosphere and atmospheric transport is an important source for this element in the Arctic. Measurements of gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) have been carried out at the Villum Research Station (Villum) at Station Nord, situated in north Greenland. The measurements cover the period 1999–2017 with a gap in the data for the period 2003–2008 (for a total of 11 years). The measurements were compared with model results from the Danish Eulerian Hemispheric Model (DEHM) model that describes the contribution from direct anthropogenic transport, marine emission and general background concentration. The percentage of time spent over different surfaces was calculated by back-trajectory analysis and the reaction kinetics was determined by comparison with ozone.

The GEM measurements were analysed for trends, both seasonal and annually. The only significant trend found was a negative one for the winter months. Comparison of the measurements to simulations using the Danish Eulerian Hemispheric Model (DEHM) indicated that direct transport of anthropogenic emissions of mercury accounts for between 14 and 17 % of the measured mercury. Analysis of the kinetics of the observed Atmospheric Mercury Depletion Events (AMDEs) confirms the results of a previous study at Villum of the competing reactions of GEM and ozone with Br, which suggests a lifetime of GEM on the order of a month. However, a GEM lifetime of 12 months gave the best agreement between model and measurements. The chemical lifetime is shorter and thus the apparent lifetime appears to be the result of deposition followed by reduction and reemission; for this reason the term relaxation time is preferred to lifetime for GEM. The relaxation time for GEM causes a delay between emission reductions and the effect on actual concentrations.

No annual trend was found for the measured concentrations of GEM over the measurement period despite emission reductions. This is interesting and together with low direct transport of GEM to Villum, as found by the DEHM model, it shows that the dynamics of GEM is very complex. Therefore in the coming years, intensive measurement networks is highly needed to describe the global distribution of mercury in the environment as the use of models to predict future levels will still be highly uncertain. The situation is increasingly complex due to global change that most likely will change the transport patterns of mercury not only in the atmosphere but also between matrixes.

Henrik Skov et al.

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Henrik Skov et al.

Henrik Skov et al.

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Short summary
Mercury is toxic in all its forms and it bioaccumulate in foodwebs, it is ubiquitous in the atmosphere and atmospheric transport is an important source for this element in the Arctic. Measurements of gaseous elemental mercury have been carried out at the Villum Research Station at Station Nord in north Greenland since 1999. The measurements are compared with model results from the Danish Eulerian Hemispheric Model. In this way, the dynamics of mercury is investigated.
Mercury is toxic in all its forms and it bioaccumulate in foodwebs, it is ubiquitous in the...
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