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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-322
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-322
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  12 May 2020

12 May 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Assessing contributions of natural surface and anthropogenic emissions to atmospheric mercury in a fast developing region of Eastern China from 2015 to 2018

Xiaofei Qin1, Leiming Zhang2, Guochen Wang1, Xiaohao Wang3, Qingyan Fu3, Jian Xu1, Hao Li1, Jia Chen1, Qianbiao Zhao3, Yanfen Lin3, Juntao Huo3, Fengwen Wang4, Kan Huang1,5,6, and Congrui Deng1 Xiaofei Qin et al.
  • 1Center for Atmospheric Chemistry Study, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Particle Pollution and Prevention (LAP3), Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200433, China
  • 2Air Quality Research Division, Science and Technology Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, M3H 5T4, Canada
  • 3Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center, Shanghai, 200030, China
  • 4State Key Laboratory of Coal Mine Disaster Dynamics and Control, College of Environment and Ecology, Chongqing University, Chongqing, 400030, China
  • 5Institute of Eco-Chongming (IEC), Shanghai, 202162, China
  • 6Institute of Atmospheric Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200433, China

Abstract. Mercury (Hg) is a global toxic pollutant that can be released into the atmosphere through anthropogenic and natural sources. The uncertainties in the estimated emission amounts are much larger from natural than anthropogenic sources. A method was developed in the present study to quantify the contributions of natural surface mercury emissions to ambient gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) concentrations through application of positive matrix factorization (PMF) analysis with temperature, O3, and NH3 as indicators of GEM emissions from natural surfaces. GEM concentrations were continuously monitored at a 2-hourly resolution at a regional background site in the Yangtze River Delta in Eastern China during 2015–2018. Annual average GEM concentrations were in the range of 2.03–3.01 ng/m3, with a strong decreasing trend at a rate of −0.32 ± 0.07 ng m−3 yr−1 from 2015 to 2018, which was mostly caused by reduced anthropogenic emissions since 2013. The estimated contributions from natural surface emissions of mercury to the ambient GEM concentrations were in the range of 0.90–1.01 ng/m3 on annual average with insignificant interannual changes, but the relative contribution increased significantly from 36 % in 2015 to 53 % in 2018, gradually surpassing those from anthropogenic sources.

Xiaofei Qin et al.

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Short summary
The uncertainties of mercury emissions are much larger from natural sources than anthropogenic sources. A method was developed to quantify the contributions of natural surface emissions to ambient GEM based on PMF modeling. The annual GEM concentration in Eastern China showed a decreasing trend from 2015 to 2018. While the relative contribution of natural surface emissions increased significantly from 36 % in 2015 to 53 % in 2018, gradually surpassing those from anthropogenic sources.
The uncertainties of mercury emissions are much larger from natural sources than anthropogenic...
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