Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-357
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-357

  27 Sep 2021

27 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

First Observation of Mercury Species on an Important Water Vapor Channel in the Southeast Tibetan Plateau

Huiming Lin1, Yindong Tong2, Chenghao Yu1, Long Chen3, Xiufeng Yin4, Qianggong Zhang5,6, Shichang Kang4,6, Lun Luo7, James Schauer8,9, Benjamin de Foy10, and Xuejun Wang1 Huiming Lin et al.
  • 1MOE Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • 2School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin, 300072, China
  • 3School of Geographic Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
  • 4State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 5Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China
  • 6CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing, 100085, China
  • 7South-East Tibetan plateau Station for integrated observation and research of alpine environment, CAS
  • 8Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA
  • 9Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI, USA
  • 10Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, 63108, USA

Abstract. The Tibetan Plateau is generally considered to be a significantly clean area owing to its high altitude; however, the transport of atmospheric pollutants from the Indian subcontinent to the Tibetan Plateau has infected the Tibetan environments. Nyingchi is located at the end of an important water vapor channel. In this study, continuous monitoring of gaseous elemental mercury (GEM), gaseous oxidized mercury (GOM), and particle-bound mercury (PBM) was conducted in Nyingchi from March 30 to September 3, 2019, to study the influence of the Indian summer monsoon (ISM) on the origin, transport and behavior of mercury. The atmospheric Hg concentrations during the preceding Indian summer monsoon (PISM) period (1.20 ± 0.35 ng m−3, 13.5 ± 7.3 pg m−3, and 11.4 ± 4.8 pg m−3 for GEM, GOM, and PBM, respectively) were relatively higher than those during the ISM period (0.95 ± 0.21 ng m−3, 12.7 ± 14.3 pg m−3 and 8.8 ± 6.0 pg m−3). The average annual total gaseous mercury concentration in the Nyingchi region was obtained using a passive sampler as 1.12 ± 0.28 ng m−3. The GEM concentration showed that the sampling area was very clean. The GEM has several patterns of daily variation during different periods. Stable high GEM concentrations occur at night during PISM, which may be related to the nocturnal boundary layer. High values occurring in the late afternoon during the ISM may be related to long-range transport. The results of the trajectory model demonstrate that the sources of pollutants at Nyingchi are different under the control of different airflow fields. During westerly circulation, pollutants mainly originate from northeast India or Nepal. During the ISM period, the pollutants mainly originate from northeast India, or the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean. The strong precipitation and vegetation effects on Hg during the ISM resulted in low Hg concentrations transmitted to Nyingchi during this period. Further, principal component analysis showed that long-distance transport, local emissions, meteorological factors, and snowmelt factors are the main factors affecting the local Hg concentration in Nyingchi.

Huiming Lin et al.

Status: open (until 08 Nov 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-357', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Oct 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-357', Anonymous Referee #1, 20 Oct 2021 reply

Huiming Lin et al.

Huiming Lin et al.

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Short summary
The Tibetan Plateau is known as ‘The Third Pole’ and is generally considered to be a clean area owing to its high altitude. However, it may receive the impacts of air pollutants transported from the Indian subcontinent. Pollutants generally enter the Tibetan Plateau in several ways. Among them is the Yarlung Zangbu/Brahmaputra Grand Canyon. In this study, we identified the influence of the Indian summer monsoon on the origin, transport and behavior of mercury in this area.
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