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Atmospheric nanoparticle observations in the low free troposphere during upward orographic flows at Izaña Mountain Observatory

by S. Rodríguez, Y. González, E. Cuevas, R. Ramos, P. M. Romero, J. Abreu-Afonso, A. Redondas
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions ()

Abstract

1 We measured gaseous elemental mercury (GEM), particulate mercury (PHg), and reactive gaseous mercury (RGM), along with CO, ozone, and aerosol scatter at the Mount Bachelor Observatory (2.7 km above sea level), Oregon, from May to August 2005. The mean mercury concentrations at standard conditions) were 1.54 ng/m(3) (GEM), 5.2 pg/m(3) (PHg), and 43 pg/m(3) (RGM). RGM enhancements, up to 600 pg/m(3), occurred at night and were linked to a diurnal pattern of upslope and downslope flows that mixed in boundary layer air during the day and free tropospheric air at night. During the night, RGM was inversely correlated P < 0.0001) with CO r = -0.36), GEM r = -0.73), and H2O r = -0.44), was positively correlated with ozone r = 0.38), and could not be linked to recent anthropogenic emissions from local sources or long-range transport. Principal component analysis and a composite of change in RGM versus change in GEM during RGM enhancements indicate that a nearly quantitative shift in speciation is associated with increases in ozone and decreases in water vapor and CO. This argues that high concentrations of RGM are present in the free troposphere because of in situ oxidation of GEM to RGM. A global chemical transport model reproduces the RGM mean and diurnal pattern but underestimates the magnitude of the largest observed enhancements. Since the only modeled, in situ RGM production mechanisms are oxidation of GEM by ozone and OH, this implies that there are faster reaction rates or additional RGM production mechanisms in the free troposphere.

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